Vilayil Faseela, most distinctive voice in Mappilapattu, dies at 63

As a member of the Mappilapattu troupe led by legendary singer V.M. Kutty, Vilayil Valsala was hugely popular among Mappilapattu enthusiasts in 1970s and 80s

August 12, 2023 08:07 pm | Updated 08:07 pm IST - MALAPPURAM

Vilayil Faseela

Vilayil Faseela

Renowned Mappilapattu singer Vilayil Faseela, 63, died at her house at Velliparamba, near Kozhikode, on Saturday.

According to family sources, she died in the morning following a heart attack, leaving behind a number of devotional and popular Muslim songs belonging to the Mappilapattu genre.

Born to Kelan and Cherupennu in a poor family at Vilayil in Muthuvallur grama panchayat of Ernad taluk in 1960, Valsala’s unique voice and singing style made her a celebrity at an early age. As a member of the Mappilapattu troupe led by legendary singer V.M. Kutty, Vilayil Valsala was hugely popular among Mappilapattu enthusiasts in 1970s and 80s. She later accepted Islam and changed her name to Faseela.

“But for V.M. Kutty, we would have missed the legendary singer Faseela. Her voice was cut out for Mappilapattu,” said Mappilapattu lyricist Faisal Kanmanam.

It was V.M. Kutty who identified Faseela when she was in the 5th standard. He took her home and offered her training in Mappilapattu. Though accidental, Faseela’s debut was impressive. She was offered a chance as a substitute for the Aysha sisters when the latter could not attend a mega show of V.M. Kutty at Tirur. Faseela stole the heart of thousands who attended the show and became an overnight Mappilapattu sensation.

Her songs like Amina Beevikkomana Mone..., Hajjinte Raavil..., Kirikeeri Cherippummal Anajulla Puthunari..., Makkathe Rajathiyaay..., Udane Kazhuthentetharukku Bappa, and Kadalinte Ikkare Vannore... have been hugely popular.

She has rendered more than 1,000 songs. They included solos and duets with top Mappilapattu singers like V.K. Kutty, Peer Mohammed and Eranjoli Moosa. She was active until her death.

“What makes her unique in the firmament of Mappilapattu is her sharp and melodious voice, which is irreplaceable. Her diction and pronunciation were too good for the music genre,” said Mr. Kanmanam.

Faseela toured almost all Gulf countries in 1980s and 90s along with major Mappilapattu troupes. Her voice continued to be much in demand even lately. She also sang in a few Malayalam films.

Faseela won several awards, including the Folklore Academy Lifetime Achievement Award, Mappila Kala Academy Award, and Mappila Kala Ratnam Award.

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