Mappilapattu singer Vilayil Fazeela passes away at 64

Vilayil Fazeela has sung over 1,000 Mappilapattu songs in her career spanning over 50 years. Photo: Special arrangement

Mappilapattu singer Vilayil Fazeela, who mesmerised listeners with her mellifluous renditions, passed away at her residence in Velliparamba in Kozhikode on Saturday. She was 64.

The singer, known earlier as Vilayil Valsala, has over 5,000 songs to her credit. She has also sung a couple of songs in Malayalam films.

Fazeela, who began her career in 1970 was a disciple of V M Kutty, who is considered the Sultan of Mappilapattu. She, along with her guru, is credited for making the music genre popular among ordinary people in the state and those residing in the Middle East.

The singer was born Valsala to Kelan and Cheriyannu who belonged to Vilayil in Muthuvalloor panchayat, near Areacode in Malappuram district. The late VM Kutty discovered Valsala's talent when she was a student at Parappoor AUP School. Gradually, she became his dearest disciple, staying in his house in Kondotty for years. She sang his songs for gramophone records and cassettes, while also sharing thousands of stages with him, both in India and abroad. She debuted in cinema with the 1979 film 'Pathinalam Raavu', produced by Salam Karassery.

'Udane Kazhuthente Arukku Bappa', 'Hasbi Rabbi Jallallah', 'Kanneeril Mungi', 'Amina Beevikkomanamone', 'Aake Loka Kaarana Mutholi Ya Rasoole Ennum', 'Aane Madanapoo' are some of the singer's most popular works. Apart from V M Kutty, Fazeela also collaborated with other musicians, including lyricists Bappu Velliparamba, P T Abdul Rahman, O M Karuvarakundu, Kanesh Punoor and music composers Chand Pasha, Vadakara Krishna Das, K V Abooty, among others. She had sung one song along with music maestro M S Baburaj. The song 'Viswa Prapachathin Aake Rasoole...' was a gramophone record. 'Amina Beevikkomanamone' was her first recorded song. Many of her collaborations with Gangandharvan K J Yesudas were also a hit.

Music director K V Abooty recalls his association with the late singer. “Fazeela was in Class VI while I was in Class X when we were under V M Kutty's tutelage. I joined them as a harmonist. We used to stay with him often at his house in Pulikkal, near Kondotty, while learning music and travelling with him for stage shows,” he says.

Lyricist Bappu Velliparamba says that most of the songs sung by Fazeela were popular, adding that some of her most popular works were penned by him.

Fazeela and her husband the late TKP Mohammed Ali settled in Velliparamba over the years. She is survived by son Hayad Ali (Sharjah), daughter Fahima, daughter-in-law Sharbi and son-in-law Ramees and brother Narayanan. The burial will be held at Velliparamba Juma Masjid at 10 pm on Saturday.

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