Group: Chhotelal and Group
aaA sheepherder by profession, Chhote Lal Pal is a self-taught Alha singer from Painakhurd in the Fatehpur District of Uttar Pradesh. Never trained formally in music, Chhote Lal began by listening to Alha performers around his village and learnt the lines by reading books. Although he has been singing it for about 35 years now, he doesn’t earn significantly from it and instead relies on sheepherding and labourer work to run his house. His children aren’t involved in Alha singing and work as daily labourers on farms and construction sites to support his father.
He has been managing this group for about 15 years, and they have performed in various places around Bundelkhand, like Mahoba, Maihar, Jhansi and others places. Other members of his group also perform Bhajans and Kirtans, and they all learnt by themselves, imitating other artists.
He also teaches two students in Fatehpur, but he laments that the next generation isn’t quite interested in Alha because of dwindling financial prospects. He hopes the government will come up with a solution to support the singers, especially the ones like him who come from an impoverished background and rely on other work to support themselves. He even finds it difficult to find jobs throughout the year outside the harvest seasons.
- Uttar Pradesh