Ramla Begum, a celebrated Mappilapattu singer known for her enchanting performances, has passed away at the age of 86. She endeared herself to fans with her soulful renditions of Mappilapattu songs and left a lasting impact on the music scene. Ramla Begum breathed her last at her residence in Paroppadi, Kozhikode, on the evening of the previous day.
Born on November 3, 1946, in Alappuzha district, Ramla Begum was the youngest among ten siblings born to Hussain Yusuf and Yamana Mariambivi. She embarked on her musical journey by singing Hindi songs and later gained prominence as the lead vocalist of the Alappuzha Azad Music Troupe. At the age of 18, she married P. Abdusalam, a tabla player in the Azad Music Troupe. Despite her marriage, Ramla continued to actively participate in musical programs, becoming a regular fixture in Malayalam music circles.
In addition to rendering approximately twenty Islamic narratives, Ramla Begum showcased her talents by performing stories like P. Kesavadev’s “Odayil Ninnu,” Kalidasa’s “Shakuntala,” and Kumaranashan’s “Nalini” in the form of Kadhaprasangam at various wedding venues and temples. She graced stages not only in Kerala but also abroad. Remarkably, Ramla holds the distinction of presenting Kadhaprasangam in over 10,000 venues.
Her international performances commenced in 1971 when she and her husband performed Kadhaprasangam in Singapore. Ramla continued to be a vibrant presence on stage until 2018. She also lent her melodious voice to more than thirty-five gramophone records and over five hundred cassettes. Throughout her illustrious career, Ramla Begum received numerous accolades, including the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, Kerala Mappila Kala Academy Award, Mahakavi Moyinkutty Vaidyar Memorial Award, and Folklore Academy Award. Her legacy in the world of Mappilapattu and music in Kerala remains cherished and enduring.