According to a folk tale of Mirzapur, there was woman called Kajli whose husband was in a distant land. Monsoon arrived and separation became unbearable. She began to cry at the feet of the Kajmal Goddess and these cries took the form of the popular Kajri songs.
Come monsoon... and it brings relief from the sizzling hot summer.
Come the black clouds... and separation from the beloved become unbearable.
Each bolt of lightning hits straight at the heart and makes it beat faster.
Kajri, the songs of longing are the outbursts of a woman overwhelmed by desire.
Rimjhim Barse Re by Sucharita Gupta says
The rain drops fall softly
My friends sing the songs of Kajri
My chunri gets wet
Oh save me, my love...
Derived from the word Kajal meaning Kohl, Kajris are sung by classical and semi classical musicians. There are two forms of Kajri singing in UP, one that is sung on a performance platform and the other sung by women dancing in a semi-circle, the Dhunmuniya Kajri.
This is a collection of field recordings from the villages and towns of Northern India around Banaras, Mirzapur and Allahabad and a substantial part of revenue goes back to the artistes.