K G Jayan: Carnatic musician and composer for numerous Tamil and Mayalayam films, dies aged 89

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Know for his composition in the world of Tamil and Malayalam films, Indian composer and Carnatic musician K G Jayan has died aged 89.

One of India’s foremost Carnatic performers and the recipient of the fourth highest award bestowed upon a civilian, the Padma Shri, K G Jayan has died at 89. His cause of death was related to an age-related illness, with his death announced overnight.

Jayan was born to Gopalan Thantri and Narayani Amma at Kadamboothra Madam in Kottayam on November 21, 1934. Gopalan Thantri was one of the disciples of the social reformer Sree Narayana Guru. At the age of six, Jayan started learning Carnatic music along with his brother Vijayan. Four years later, he staged his maiden performance at Kumaranalloor Devi temple in Kottayam.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It was his musical partnership with his brother, Vijayan, that brought Jayan to the attention of Indian cinemagoers; songs composed by Jaya-Vijaya for Malayalam movies like “Dharma Sastha,” “Nirakudam,” “Sneham” and “Theruvugeetham” eliciting praise from cinemagoers and film critics alike. However, Vijayan died in 1988, prompting Jayan to continue his career composing devotional songs and conducting concerts. 

Though he was employed as a primary school teacher Jayan resigned from the job to concentrate on music. His Ayyappa devotional songs were very popular and Jayan used to perform concerts at Sabarimala Sannidhanam every year.

A winner of many awards including the Harivarasanam award of Travancore Devaswom Board, Jaya-Vijaya's albums like Thiruvabharanam were very popular. He was honoured with Padmasri in 2019 and the Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Akademi award in 1991.

In 2019, Jayan received the Padma Shri, the fourth highest away a civilian can be bestowed by the Indian government. Instituted on 2 January 1954, the award is conferred in recognition of "distinguished contribution in various spheres of activity including the arts, education, industry, literature, science, acting, medicine, social service and public affairs" and is awarded by the Government of India every year on India's Republic Day.

K G Jayan is survived by sons Biju K Jayan, actor Manoj K Jayan and daughters-in-law Priya Biju and Asha Manoj.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.