Group: Jittu Yadav and Group
Jittu Yadav hails from Deogaon in Azamgarh district of Uttar Pradesh and identifies primarily as a Birha Lokgeet singer. He took inspiration from other musicians in his village as a child and started to learn singing by himself. He belongs to the Yadav caste and his ancestors sang Birha, Kajri, Chaiti, Chanaini, Chhaprahiya and many other folk forms of the Purvanchal region. He has been running his own group since 1980 and has over thirty years of experience as a singer. He mostly sings in his mother tongue, Bhojpuri, and his cultural background overlaps with that of Bihar. Chhaprahiya, for instance, has its origin in Chhapra in Bihar.
Growing up in his village, he would go see the performances of Chhaprahiya that were performed by artists who would specially come from Darbhanga. He learnt the songs by listening to them and would spend the whole month with them during their tour. Chhaprahiya typically also involves dancers who are known for their flexible moves and energetic dancing. Jittu Yadav performs in weddings and other gatherings in his district. Additionally, he has also travelled around the country to Mumbai, Kolkata and other cities to sing the folk songs of Purvanchal. He and his group have also performed in Kumbh Melas in various places.
The Covid-19 pandemic has hit him hard and he finds it difficult to find shows and performances now. He is also a farmer and teaches music to a few students in his village. He was also part of a project for the government, where he taught Chautaal to children in a school in Kanjhit village in Azamgarh in 2020. Despite his success in music, he hasn’t encouraged his children to take up music because it is a difficult career and requires a lot of practice and patience. His children instead work in the service sector in the city.
- Uttar Pradesh