Friday, April 12, 2024

Chaiti - Semi classical form

Chaiti is a semi-classical form of music and dance traditionally performed during the Chaitra month of the Hindu calendar, which corresponds to March-April. Originating from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, Chaiti celebrates the arrival of spring with its gentle melodies and lyrical verses, depicting scenes of nature's beauty and the joyous festivities of the season. While Chaiti shares thematic similarities with Thumri in its exploration of nature and human emotions, it is characterized by a slower tempo and a more straightforward musical structure, often accompanied by rhythmic movements and dance gestures.

Chaiti are semi-classical songs, originating from the Indian subcontinent, sung in the Hindu calendar month of Chait. These songs are rendered during the Holy month of Sri Rama Navami in March/April. That is why; most of the songs have wordings like "Ho Rama" or "Are Rama". Chaiti evokes the aura of romanticism and the mood of love. The most common theme apart from Holi is the depiction of scene where a girl asks her husband for a new bridal dress. In many Chaiti songs you will find the newly married young bride expressing her shyness at meeting her beloved.

For Exp:- जत आनंद बधैया हो रामा, ऐलै चैत का महीनवा हो रामा

Chaiti has created a place in the hearts of the masses of Uttar Pradesh. Some of the greatest exponents of music in India particularly Uttar Pradesh have tried their hands successfully in Chaiti Music. Some of the famous patrons of Chaiti in the state of UP are Girija Devi, Shobha Gutru and Pundit Chhanulal Misra.

Girija Devi is one of India's greatest vocalists. One of the last masters of the Purab ang gayaki tradition of the Banares Gharana, Devi has been equally effective singing in the traditional 18th century classical style of khyal as well as semi-classical styles such as thumri, tappa, kajri, dadra, and chaiti. The recipient of the prestigious Padmashree Award from the president of India in 1972 and the Padma Bhushan in 1989, she has received the Sangeet Natak Academy Awards of Uttar Pradesh and Delhi. The most popular Chaiti song of all times was perhaps sung by Girija Devi, a Hindustani Classical singer known for her Thumri music. The song talks about a woman dressed up in colorful clothes, waiting for her beloved to return home.

चैत मास चुनरी रंगइबे हो रामा, पिया घर अइहैं।

In the past, there used to be yearly celebrations of ‘Chaiti Utsav’ where Chaiti singers from the region would gather and perform these songs. However, this is a tradition which is rapidly disappearing – Chaiti folk music festivals are limited to villages and rural areas, even from where they are disappearing.

Some of India’s most celebrated names such as Girija Devi and Ustad Bismillah Khan have played Chaiti from time to time. These songs are mostly about love and devotion. Some lyrics describe the springtime Chaitra month as well as the romanticism around it in great detail.

कुसुमी लोढ़न हम जाएब हो रामा राजा केर बगिया,

मोर चुनरिया सैंयाँ तोर पगड़िया एकहि रंग रँगायब हो रामा।

The lines above describe how a woman goes to pick up flowers in a meadow and wants the colours of the flower on her dress and on the headgear of her lover, painting both of them in the springtime colours. While these songs are mostly about the celebration of spring or about lovers enjoying the weather, some Chaiti songs are about simpler things – such as the simple joy of sleeping in this pre-summer weather and when the person is woken up, he sings:

सुतला में काहेला जगैलऽ हो रामा

रस के सपनमा में हलइ अँखियाँ डूबल, अंग ही अंग अलसाए हो रामा

At a time when folk art is disappearing rapidly, some forms of folk art such as the Chaiti music continue to be relevant from time to time – especially during the seasonal celebrations of the Chaitra month. Chaiti Ghoda is one of the popular folk dance forms of Odisha. It is performed by fisherman tribes like the Keot. This dance represents the Chaitri month of the year that is from March to April to the full Moon in Baisakh that is from April to May and Ghoda means Horse in Odisha.

Folk singing of Chait month - Bhagwat Sharan Jha 'animesh'

The environment, natural environment and seasonal effects leave a deep impact on our lives. If Phagun is known for Faag, then the month of Chait is considered to be the month of deep feeling of the season. If Phagun is known for color and enthusiasm, then Chait is the month of seeing the scars of the heart in the deep color of love. .Chaita, Chaiti, Ghato or Chaitavar is the song of Chait month. Raga-images related to this month are also found. The fundamental difference between Holi and Chaita is that unlike Holi, there is no scope for being light, vulgar, sarcastic and superficial. This is a spontaneous singing of serious feelings. Just as the air is filled with fun instead of shivering, the moonlight at night. Cuckoo's call in Amarai starts arousing the mind, similarly this singing is full of melody and romance. 

Classy singers sing Chaita along with Holi, Chaita full of separation, then sing Holi in a happy mood. The culmination of Phagun is Chait. It is also the pause to climb to the peak of happiness. It is also the warmth of a serious mind. Since Lord Shri Ram was born on Chaitra Shukla Paksha Navami, hence this happiness has got a prominent place in Chaiti Gayan.

There is a tradition of Jugalbandi of singing Chaita and Dugola singing of Chaita in Ram Navami fair. There is a tradition of Jugalbandi of singing Chaita and Ram Janmotsav in Bihar-Jharkhand and Eastern Uttar Pradesh including Rambhadra (Hajipur) fair. " चैत मासे राम के जनमिया हो रामा , चैत मासे।" This is a very popular Chaita song

Chaiti is a season-appropriate tradition of semi-classical singing. Many singers including Vidushi Girija Devi, Shobha Gurtu, Shubha Mudgal have sung emotional renditions of Chaiti. Instruments like harmonium, sarangi, tabla and flute are used in singing Chaiti. Banarasi Chaiti Gayan of Pt. Chhannulal Mishra has a different sama. The bandh of one of his famous Chaiti Gayan is as follows:

"सेजिया से सइयाँ रूठि गइले हो रामा

कोयल तोरी बोलिया ...

रोज तू बोलेली सांझ-सवेरबा 

आज काहे बोले अधरतिया हो रामा...

होत भोर तोर खोतबा उजारबो

और कटइबो बन-बगिया हो रामा..."

" रात हम देखली सपनवा हो रामा .." ( #विदुषी गिरिजा देवी) , 

"चैत मासे चुनरी रंगा दे पियबा " (विदुषी शोभा गुर्टू) और 

"सूतल निंदिया जगाए हो रामा" ( विदुषी शुभा मुद्गल) Like many lyrics are priceless gems of this singing.

Therefore, the style of Chaita has not been limited only to the illiterate or illiterate people of the village; Rather, the culturally rich people have also preserved and decorated it. Many cultural personalities have also given it shelter.

Recently, Vijaybharti left the audience emotional by singing Chaiti in a very special Holi singing program. This chaita recorded by Doordarshan was greatly appreciated by the new generation and they went crazy. 

Listen to the words of this Chaiti -  

चढ़ल चईत चित्त लागेला न हो रामा

बाबा के भवनमा sss...।

बीर बभनमा सगुनमा बिचारो

कब होइहें पिया से मिलनमा हो रामा

बाबा के भवनमा ... ।

याद आवत है पी की बतिया

उर बीच उठत लहरबा हो रामा

बाबा के भवनमा..। "

Without progressive thinking, folk art also loses its original form and goal. Let us take a pledge to preserve this folk heritage. Avoid the crisis of cultural poverty by saving this folk tradition that has been going on for more than a thousand years.

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