Chhath songs, popular in northern India through record players, have now flooded social media, broadening access avenues and trickling down to a tech-savvy new generation.
There is a surge in the release of Chhath song records this time on the occasion of the annual Vedic festival where people offer prayers to the Sun god. The musicians range from the established to the up-and-coming.
Acclaimed folk singer Sharda Sinha, for instance, released two Chhath music videos on iTunes and YouTube this week.
“I sung Chhath songs after 10 years and released them digitally on all social media platforms in order to reach out to the large Bihari diaspora across India and abroad,” the Padma Shri awardee said.
The singer’s son Anshuman Sinha, who is the producer of Swar Sharada Music Foundation she patronises, said all her new Chhath songs have been released for worldwide access. “Technology has a wider reach and we have to evolve accordingly,” he added.
The songs can now also be accessed through music portals Gaana.com and Saavn.com.
Sinha’s songs have wide acceptance among new-generation music buffs, several of whom tune in to the devotional songs through their mobile apps.
“We now prefer YouTube and web portals for Chhath songs,” said Shweta Mishra, who is pursuing her graduation in law. “They are easy to access through our cell phone.”
‘New Chhath Geet’ by Pawan Singh is another music video that came out recently. Released on the YouTube on October 21, it can now be found on other music portals as well.
National award-winning filmmaker Nitin Chandra has directed a music video, ‘Pahile Pahil Chhathi Maiya’, and dedicated it this year to the next generation of Sun god devotees.
Kranti Prakash Jha, who has acted in the video, said the days when songs were “just a hearing medium” were gone. “We can make them lively by adding good visuals to it,” he said in a social-media post. “We have tried to experiment this time and are glad to see people appreciating our effort. We have received so many compliments from the film fraternity.”
Bollywood actor Manoj Vajpayee praised ‘Pahile Pahil Chhathi Maiya’. In a social media post, he said, “The video took me back to my childhood when Chhath used to be the most important festival for us.”
Film director Imtiaz Ali Chhath said Chhath songs made him emotional. “It will have the same effect on all those who stay away from their birth place,” he said on social media.
Chhath songs are an integral part of rituals associated with the four-day festival that began on Friday, thanking the Sun for sustaining life on earth. Sung by devotees during the rituals and played on public address system at various ghats, the devotional songs traditionally add solemnity to the puja.