Kirtan is a form of collective praise in song originating in the Vedic tradition in India and practiced in several religions. A kirtan is essentially a call-and-response chant set to music, in which singers either recite or describe legends, sing devotionals to various Indian gods, or examine important spiritual concepts. It is also a type of folk song or performance art, and in both forms, kirtan carries forward generations of the beliefs, ideals, histories, and stories of the people who perform it, both religiously and secularly. In the West, kirtan has become a somewhat popular collective spiritual or healing practice, with various well-known singers including Snatam Kaur, Jai Uttal, and Krishna Das serving as modern proponents of this traditional spiritual practice.
“I understand there are people who feel that what happens in the West with chanting is ridiculous—what do we know about chanting?” says Krishna Das, the white guy from Long Island whose name is synonymous with Indian mantric music in America. “That’s really dumb.
There is a big difference between a musical performance and kirtan. A performance is to display how good you are at something. In kirtan you don't have to prove anything, you have to get connected. That is the puropose of kirtan; to get connected yourself, and to help others get connected as well.
JKYog presents Swami Mukundananda's explanation on 'why do kirtan' and on the importance of kirtan. On the spiritual journey, when we pretend to be sophisticated and knowledgeable, we think kirtan is not for us and rather run after things like kundalini jagran etc.