Mappila songs have a charm of their own as their tunes sound a mix of the ethos and culture of Kerala as well as West Asia. They deal with diverse themes such as religion, love, satire and heroism.
Significantly, the first gramophone record in Malayalam language was a Mappila song. That was cut in 1925, when Gul Mohammed, father of celebrity artist K.G. Sathar, recorded his voice in gramophone. Many Mappila songs have been released thereafter on records, though very few of them are considered authentic. The first Muslim lady to render Mappila songs is Sara Gul Mohammed (wife of Gul Mohammed). The couple have also a number of gramophone records to their credit, they are the parents of famous music director Aziz Bava.
S.V. Pir Muhammad (different from Pir Muhammad) is one of the greatest Mappila singers. Most of the songs of S.V. Pir Muhammad were written by P.T. Abdul Rahman. Next to Moyinkutty Vaidyar, P.T. Abdul Rahman is well-known for his contributions to the lyrics of many Mappila songs.
One of the prominent modern-day Mappila singers is S.M. Koya of Kozhikode, noted for his genre of Malabar Mappila Pattukal which has won the appreciation of and respected by of film music directors like K. Raghavan, Baburaj and A.T, Ummer.
Besides S.M. Koya, prominent names in the field are Kozhikode Abdul Khader, K. Raghavan, M.S. Baburaj, A.T. Ummer, A.K. Sukumaram, M. Kunhi Moossa, Chand Pasha, M.A. Azees, Ramla Beegum, Vincent Master, Najmal Babu and H. Mehaboob. The other notist artistes include: