Birha is another popular Folk song genre of Uttar Pradesh. This genre is mood based and the basic theme revolves around the separation of lover and his beloved. Actually 'Birha' in Hindi means separation. The history of this genre is not very old and the earliest reference goes back to 17th century.
The possible origination of this folk genre is credited to the
incidents where mostly men from small villages used to migrate to cities
in search of livelihood. Often they had to leave their newly-weds behind
in the village only. The lament of separation and carnal desire among
the womenfolk of the village led to the birth of Birha. The genre is
extremely popular among the farmers and laborers in eastern Uttar
Pradesh and Bihar.
There was an abrupt rise in its popularity in the mid-nineteenth
century when thousands of laborers from eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar
were taken to Caribbean as sugar plantation laborers. In fact, the
laborers and their descendents who now constitute a sizable population
in Caribbean still love this song genre. The best example of this is the
growing popularity of Chutney Music, the Soca-Samba version of Birha, in
west especially in Caribbean Islands.