Mappila rhythms

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Except a few who are accustomed to ‘Mappilapattu’, the line beginning with ‘Aanapoth asathul ilah...’ from ‘Badar Padappattu’ written by Moyinkutty Vaidyar might not be tha

Published: 03rd March 2012 01:07 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th May 2012 06:28 PM   |  A+A-


THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Except a few who are accustomed to ‘Mappilapattu’, the line beginning with ‘Aanapoth asathul ilah...’ from ‘Badar Padappattu’ written by Moyinkutty Vaidyar might not be that familiar. The lines that signify a scene from the ‘Battle of Badr’ by prophet and his companions has little to do with common listeners. At the same time a majority of Malayalis will not negate that they have heard ‘Kayalarikathu Vala Erinjappol...’ in the movie ‘Neelakuyil’ penned by Raghavan maash. Now you may think, what these two songs have in common. When Iqbal Koppilan, a ‘Mappilapattu’ exponent sings both songs in the same tune, one would understand the relation between the two. Though both resemble each other, he explains how they differ in terms of nuances.

“The war song is delivered in a high pitch to convey the valorous deeds in the battle front. But when it is about praising the beauty of a woman, some softness is brought to the rendering. Though they are delivered in the same  pattern, in no ways the film song can be called a copycat of the ‘Mappilapattu’.” Iqbal says.  

One of the highlights of ‘Mappilapattu’ is the vertical pitch with which it is sung. Unlike other song genres, they do not have any lightness associated with it. It is the rhythm that takes a high note. The evolution of this style of presentation according to Iqbal has come from its close association with Arabic and Tamil. “Well before the evolution of the first Arabic-Malayalam  work ‘Muhyuddeen Mala’ by Qadi Muhammad, ‘Mappila songs’ were much popular in Arabic and Tamil. A majority of the songs thus have an association with the Dravidian metre,” he points out. The Tamil-Muslim poets, ‘Pulavans’ are the ones who have brought these features to Malayalam.

Even in  Arabic-Malayalam songs, he says, the features from Tamil are found. The style of writing, vocabulary and subjects are adopted aplenty from Tamil. ‘Yaduka mona’, the writing style in Tamil, is adopted a lot. The ‘pada pattu’ about wars have close resemblance to Tamil, whereas ‘Malapattu’ sung during wedding ceremonies have closeness to Arabic. For example, the Sekku Padappattu’ in Arabic-Malayalam has resemblance to the ‘Sekku Padaipoor’ in Arabic-Tamil. The alliterative techniques ‘Kambi’, ‘Kazhuthu’ and ‘Valinmel Kambi’ are also taken from Tamil.

Iqbal says that as of ‘Kayalarikathu...’, such resemblance can be pointed out in the film songs ‘Sare Sare Sambare...’ and ‘En karalil thamasichal...’ too. “Lot many give and take can be found in between Mappilapattu and film songs. But the high pitch of rendition in ‘Mappilapattu’ never makes them a carbon copy of the other,” he says.

Iqbal, hailing from Kondotty in Malappuram district has authored ‘Vattapattu’, which is said to be the first comprehensive work in Malayalam in this category. A civil engineer by profession, he has now zeroed in on a study on ‘Daffu’.


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