Mappila Paattu singer V M Kutty passes away

Considered the uncrowned prince of Kerala Muslim folk songs, named Mappila Pattu, V M Kutty, died of a heart ailment at a private hospital here on Wednesday. He was 86.

Hailing from Pulikkal near Kondotty in Malappuram, Kutty has made immense contributions in popularising Mappila Pattu, which has been a cultural identity of the Muslim community of the state especially in Malabar (north Kerala).

‘Mappila Pattu’ is a folklore Muslim song genre, sung in a colloquial dialect of Malayalam laced with Arabic.

It was out of his sheer passion for the folk songs that he synced the “Ishels” (tunes), believed to be sung by Arab sailors who reached Kozhikode for trade centuries ago, into Arab-Malayalam lyrics and gave a unique slang that made the art form creating a tremendous impact among the music lovers.

Beginning his career as a teacher in a local school, Kutty became an exponent of Mappila songs through research into the centuries-old Arab-origin music stream. The presentation of ‘Mapplila Pattu’ on radio at the age of 20 years marked the beginning of his art life.

He was also the person who had first presented the Mapplia Pattu on stage and formed a music troupe for its performance in the southern state. Over the years, he also popularised the ancient folk songs which were since then confined to few Muslim pockets.

Kutty also wrote extensively about Mappila Pattu and introduced many new singers into the music stream. He has written over 1,000 songs and has penned several books. Mappila pattinte lokam, Bhathigeethangal, Kuruthikunju and Basheer Mala were among his noted works.

A recipient of the Sangeetha Nadaka Academy award, Kutty has been the honorary secretary of the Institute of Mappila Studies for a long time. Condoling his death, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said Kutty was a genius who played a key role in popularising the Mappila Pattu and took the music genre to new heights.

“Kutty, who had composed and sung over a thousand songs, made his presence in the film industry too. Thus, he was able to popularise the music genre across Kerala and build a fan base,” he said in the message.


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