(born June 2, 1943 as Gnanadesikan) is an Indian film composer, singer, and lyricist. He has composed over 4,000 songs and provided background music for more than 800 Indian films in various languages in a career spanning 30 years. He is based in
Ilaiyaraaja was born into a poor rural family in Pannaipuram, Theni district, Tamil Nadu,
In Chennai, Ilaiyaraaja worked in a band for hire involved in performing music for various stage shows and formal occasions. Ilaiyaraaja also worked as a session guitarist and keyboardist/organist for film music composers and directors such as Salil Chowdhury from West Bengal, who often recorded music in
Ilaiyaraaja has won the Gold Remi Award for Best Music Score jointly with film composer M. S. Viswanathan at the WorldFest-Houston Film Festival for the film Vishwa Thulasi (2005).He was conferred the title Isaignani ('savant of music') in 1988 by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi and received the Kalaimamani Award, an annual award for excellence in the field of arts from the Government of the State of Tamil Nadu, India. He also received State Government Awards from the governments of Kerala (1995), Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh (The Lata Mangeshkar Award) (1998) for excellence in music.