Regional and folk singers are using YouTube to preserve and popularise their culture

Regional and folk singers are using YouTube to preserve and popularise their culture
Tetseo Sisters Rhosi
  • Many women from tier II and III towns have found a medium in YouTube to showcase their talent to the world.
  • These regional singers have found a contemporary way to celebrate their culture and connect with global audiences.
  • Business Insider India speaks to Renuka Panwar, theTetseo Sisters and Roshni Devi Bishnoi about their journey and how they are using social media platforms to preserve and celebrate their culture.
Everyday in Haryana’s Hisar Town Park, a group of around 30-40 women gather to sing and dance to Haryanvi folk songs. Some dress up in colourful Haryanvi attire, some choose Salwar Kameez but every woman gets a chance to take the centre stage and dance to her favourite folk song. Roshni Devi Bishnoi regularly shares this whole experience on YouTube.

Bishnoi started her own channel right before the pandemic after her son encouraged her to do it. Now it has become an integral part of her life

“If I ever have other commitments to attend to, I get really worried. We have fun at the park, it has become a big part of my life and I don’t like missing it. I wanted to share this experience with everyone through YouTube,” Bishnoi shares with Business Insider India.

Regional and folk singers are using YouTube to preserve and popularise their culture

While she turned to YouTube just for fun, it was in 2021 that she found out that creators can even earn through YouTube.


“I had no idea that our channel would take off. My son told me earlier last year that my channel is monetised. Since then, I have been using this money to give back to society and to arrange better facilities for women who gather at the park to celebrate our culture,” says Bishnoi.

Bishnoi lives with her two sons and husband in Hisar in a four-storey house.
Regional and folk singers are using YouTube to preserve and popularise their culture

Now, through YouTube, Bishnoi aims to make a bigger name for herself, build her own identity and earn enough money to give back to society. Her YouTube channel has 1.47 lakh subscribers.

“I would urge all women and everyone in India to come forward and share their talent with the world through YouTube. You can do everything through the comfort of your home and focus on other things as well while making videos,” says Bishnoi.

A small town singing talent

Another young woman, Renuka Panwar, has become a household name in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and other parts of the country because of her original songs.

19-year-old Panwar hails from a small town, Kekra, in Baghpat district of Uttar Pradesh, has garnered 9.46 lakh subscribers on YouTube in two years.

Panwar’s ‘52 Gaj Ka Daman’ song has crossed one billion views on YouTube and it also managed to be the number one song on YouTube global charts for 12 consecutive weeks.

Regional and folk singers are using YouTube to preserve and popularise their culture

“I was 16 when I started singing and where I come from, people had no clue that becoming a YouTuber or singer is a career option today. My brother Vicky Panwar played a big role in my musical journey. In fact, my entire family was supportive of my career in music. My viral song 52 Gaj Ka Daman has even caught people’s attention outside of India,” shares Panwar with Business Insider India.

Panwar has recorded 200 songs so far with no training. She is now using the money she has earned from YouTube to find herself a good tutor.

“Social media plays a big role in bringing regional talent to the forefront and I have gained a huge fan following due to YouTube,” says Panwar.

Panwar now dreams of becoming a Bollywood playback singer.

Regional and folk singers are using YouTube to preserve and popularise their culture

Sounds of Nagaland

Globally popular Tetseo Sisters are a quartet of sisters from Nagaland. They started their YouTube channel to preserve and celebrate their culture and Naga folk music. The sisters, who have been performing since their childhood, have taken the stage across the world including South Korea, China, the United States, the United Kingdom and Thailand.

Tetseo sisters Mütsevelü (Mercy), Azine (Azi), Kuvelü (Kuku) and Alüne (Lulu) have been celebrating life and spreading happiness through the singing of folk songs in the Chokri Naga dialect. Their music transcends borders and pays an ode to their culture.

“A lot of our fans are people who do not understand and do not speak Chokri at all, which clearly tells us that music really has no language barriers. It's all about the connection that you make with the melody, the vibes and the emotions that are captured in the songs,” shares Kuku with Business Insider India.

Tetseo sisters’ O Rhosi song has about 2.5 million views on YouTube.

Sharing why the sisters started their own YouTube channel, Mercy says, “When we started getting introduced to the Internet, and it became so accessible in the country, we used to watch a lot of YouTube videos about our favourite stars and our favourite musicians. Eventually, we realised that we could also put our own music on YouTube and we also felt that that was a great platform for us to be able to reach out to more audiences.”

The sisters wish to make music accessible to everyone through their social media platforms and give people the opportunity to learn more about the Naga culture that’s at the heart of their music.

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