Kirtan is a sanskrit word that means "narrating, reciting, telling, describing" of an idea or story, it also refers to a genre of religious performance arts, connoting a musical form of narration or shared recitation, particularly of spiritual or religious ideas.
Kirtan is a call-and- response style song or chant set to music, wherein multiple singers recite or describe a legend, or express oving devotion to a deity, or discuss spiritual ideas.
It may include dancing or direct expression of emotive states (bhava) by the singer.
Many kirtans performances are structured to engage the audience where they either repeat the chant, or reply to the call of the singer.
Kirtan and bhajan are closely related, both sharing common aims, subjects, musical themes and being devotional performance arts.
A bhajan is more free form, can be a singular melody that is performed by a single singer with or without one and more musical instruments. Kirtan differs in being a more structured team performance typically with a call and response musical structure, similar to an intimate conversation or gentle sharing of ideas.