Kozhikode: Renowned artist V M Kutty, 86, died of a heart ailment at a private hospital here on Wednesday, family sources said. He was widely considered as the uncrowned prince of Kerala-Muslim folk songs, named “mappila pattu”.
Kutty made immense contributions in popularizing Mappila Pattu, a folklore Muslim song genre rendered to lyrics, within a melodic framework, in Arabi Malayalam by the Mappilas of the Malabar region in Kerala, India. The genre has been a cultural identity of the Muslim community of the state especially in Malabar (north Kerala).
His passion for folk-songs led him to sync the “Ishels” (tunes), believed to be sung by Arab sailors who reached Kozhikode for trade centuries ago, into Arab-Malayalam lyrics. A unique slang made the art form create a tremendous impact among the music lovers.
Kutty started his career as a local school teacher, eventually going on to become an exponent of Mappila songs through research into the centuries-old Arab-origin music stream.
Over the years, the artist also popularised the ancient folk songs which were since then confined to few Muslim pockets. He also wrote extensively about mappila pattu and introduced many new singers into the music stream, writing over 1,000 songs and penning 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, 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.”