It takes ten minutes for me to read a single line of a Malayalam text and another ten minutes to decipher it. As of now, I have read two lines of payyannUr pATTu. But I am happy that I have come across 'ba' instead of 'va' in the first line itself. According to the editor notes, 'va' and 'ba' interchange freely in the poem.
Incidentally, oldest extant Malayalam works (vaDakkan pATTugaL) come from north Malabar (Kolathunadu or present day Kasaragod and Kannur districts) region or particularly from Kannur region. They are dated from 13th century to 16th century. These folk songs or so-called ballads are about personalities from merchant, cultivator and toddy tapper communities. However, the bards who created them need not be from the same communities. Payyannur Pattu, a story involving a merchant woman, was developed, performed and preserved by washermen.
In my previous post, I quoted that Vadakkan Pattugal do not show any Sanskrit or Tamil influence. However, I am not sure about Payyannur Pattu(part of Vadakkan Pattugal or northern ballads). I suppose it shows Sanskrit or Prakrit(that reached the region of Kerala) influence.
1. Literary Cultures in History: Reconstructions from South Asia By Sheldon I. Pollock (Google Books, limited preview)
Update: I made a mistake (that I have deleted). I thought Payyannur is in Kasaragod district but it turns out that it's in Kannur district. I visited Payyannur during my primary school days to attend a wedding. At that time all the distance I travelled within Kerala was Kasaragod. Or so I thought. So I had this notion that Payyannur was in Kasaragod.