I’ve lost an elder brother, says Yesudas on K G Jayan’s demise

Among the favourite film songs of Yesudas is ‘Nakshatra deepangal thilangi…’ in ‘Nirakudam’ composed by Jayan and Vijayan | File photos

Legendary singer K J Yesudas has been left devastated over the demise of musician K G Jayan. “I’ve lost someone who was very dear to me. Jayan was an elder brother to me and he led a fulfilling life,” says Yesudas. Yesudas’s association with Jayan began after both of them became disciples of the Carnatic music maestro Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar. “I met Chembai Swamy for the first time after debuting as a playback singer. However, Jayan and his twin brother Vijayan – who were known as ‘Jayavijayanmar’ – were already his disciples,” recalls Yesudas.
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Yesudas and the twin singers soon developed a warm friendship. Their families also became close. Whenever Jayan and Vijayan visited Kochi, they were guests at Yesudas’s house. “Jayan and Vijayan loved good food and they enjoyed my mother’s preparations. Ammachi too liked serving them,” says Yesudas. Moreover, Yesudas’s wife Prabha and his sister Jayamma learnt music under Jayavijayans for some time.

Jayan and Vijayan led a harmonious life, says Yesudas. “They not only looked identical, but also followed a similar musical style. Both of them had a deep voice that created a big impact during concerts,” says Yesudas. Even though Yesudas never sang together with Jayan, they performed on the same stage on several occasions. At the music festivals in Sabarimala and in Chembai’s birthplace, it was Jayan who rendered the last concert and Yesudas’s turn was the penultimate.

“This was the norm for several years. Jayan had difficulty sitting cross-legged on the floor and he used a small platform. My last meeting with Jayan was at a Chembai music festival,” says Yesudas. Apart from rendering classical concerts, Jayan and Vijayan composed music for films and devotional songs. There too, their deep knowledge of Carnatic music was evident. “Jayavijayanmar had a special skill in making common people enjoy the ‘ragas’ in Carnatic music. Even Chembai sang some of these songs at his concerts,” recalls Yesudas.

K G Jayan | File Photo

Among the favourite film songs of Yesudas is ‘Nakshatra deepangal thilangi…’ in ‘Nirakudam’ composed by Jayan and Vijayan. This song describes a concert by Chembai and mentions the mridangam accompaniment by Palakkad Mani Iyer and violin by Chowdayya. The immortal lyrics were written by Bichu Thirumala. “The songs included ragas such as Gowri Manohari, Sankarabharanam and Abhogi. I had the good fortune to sing the song for the movie. Later, he rendered it during several concerts. The audience would begin clapping as soon as the humming began. Such was the power of the song,” says Yesudas.

The untimely death of his constant companion Vijayan led Jayan into deep grief. However, Jayan took up music again following encouragement from Yesudas and close associates. After his twin brother’s demise, Jayan composed songs for ‘Mayilpeeli’, an album of Krishna devotional songs released by Tharangini, a music company owned by Yesudas. “Each of the songs in that album was not only exceptional but also is still popular,” says Yesudas. Jayan subsequently gave music to albums such as ‘Thulasimala’, ‘Ayyappathripadam’, ‘Pranavam’, ‘Harimurali’ and ‘Sri Chakkulathamma’, each of which had exceptional devotional songs.

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