Advocate of Mappilappattu
V.M. Kutty is credited with having performed Mappilappattu on stage for the first time.
The very nature of evolution of Mappila songs shows that art forms are products of shared existence.
PIONEER: V.M. Kutty
Vadakkumgara Mohammed Kutty, popularly known as V.M. Kutty, is often credited with having performed Mappila songs on stage for the first time in 1957. Till then, Mappila songs were sung in the households of Muslims of Eranad in connection with occasions such as birth, marriage and death.
For Muslim women, it was compulsory to learn the songs written in `Arabi-Malayalam.' It was one of such woman - Pandikasala Ottappilakkal Fathimakkutty - who initiated Kutty into the world of Mappilappattu.
"I heard the song `Badr-UI-Muneer-Husn-UI-Jamal' from her for the first time," Kutty recounts.
He was exposed to the intricacies of the `Isals' of Mappilappattu through his contacts with beedi workers at Kondotty while studying at a school there. Moinkutty Vaidyar himself trained many of them in the art. "Each line in the song has been composed keeping in view certain rules of metre to make it easy to memorise," says Kutty.
His exposure to the world of folk arts such as Onappattu, Kummippattu, Kurathippattu and so on was also a great learning experience.
Kutty formed an orchestra exclusively for Mappilappattu songs in 1957. Kutty's emergence as a Mappilappattu singer started in 1954 when he made his debut in All India Radio, Calicut. In 1960, Kutty recorded few of his songs. It was through Kutty's troupe that many women artistes also made their debut on stage.
Kutty was a familiar name to filmdom as well as he sang Mappila songs and Oppana for films such as `Mailanchi,' `Pathinalamravu,' `Ulpathi,' `Sammanam,' `Manya Maha Janangale,' `Sammelanam,' `1921,' and `Marc Antony.'
Kutty feels that, of late, the Mappila songs have lost much of their sheen. "This is perhaps due to the waning of creativity among the poets who are less exposed to classics in Sanskrit and Malayalam unlike earlier poets like Moinkutty Vaidyar, Pulikkottil Hyder and T. Ubaid. I have never tried to alter the original rhythm and style of Mappila songs," Kutty avers. He has authored several books on the folk art.
Kutty is now involved in organising music concerts that lays emphasis on communal harmony.
"The very nature of evolution of Mappila songs shows that art forms are products of shared existence," Kutty points out.
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