Prakash Slim – Country Blues from Nepal
13 tracks/37 minutes
Prakash Slim (born Ram Prakash Pokharel) was born in Nepal in 1980. Raised by his mother after his father’s early passing, his life was basically focused on survival. His hand me down bicycle was his treasured worldly possession, and he sold it to buy something he treasured even more– a guitar.
Some local lessons and practice got him going in 1998, and by 2000 he recorded his first pop song and was performing in public. He spent two years looking for a mentor; he found one in C.B. Chhetri who lived over 4 mikes away. That did not deter Prakash, and he eventually was offered a job in Chhetri’s band and played rock blues and instrumentals. He also got proficient enough to offer guitar lessons to others.
It was in 2008 while he was in a music teaching workshop sponsored by the US Cultural Embassy envoy that moved him to learn more and begin focusing more and more on the blues roots of the blues rock he was playing. He heard the Delta blues masters he was hooked. In 2015 he was invited to the US to attend a music retreat in San Francisco, but a major earthquake kept him home; he took solace in the Blues. It was when he was ill in 2017 that he fell upon the Acoustic Blues Pickers Facebook page which lead to a generous online friend sending him a resonator as a gift. He expanded his repertoire even more and began doing Blues in the Schools in Nepal to teach others about his passion and pass his love of The Blues to others. Now with international recognition for his work, he has released hi first album with seven original songs (which includes the two bonus tracks) and six covers.
The originals began with an instrumental “Blues Raga” that mixes 12 bar blues and a traditional Raga, and it’s pretty cool. “Living For The Memory” is a song about loneliness and memories of his past. His slide work here is excellent. “Villager’s Blues” is a cut about the toils and troubles of existing in his village. He tells his story and picks out some more delightful stuff on his resonator. “Corona Blues” is Slim’s musical take on the pandemic and it adding to the woes he and his countrymen already experience. “Poor Boy” adds harp to his music (Fabrizio Poggi from Italy) as he sings about his past. The playing is well done and the song is a nice cut. “Bhariya Blues” is done in his native tongue, a slick slower to midtempo cut. The final original is “Garib Keto,” the Nepali version of “Poor Boy,” another good song and performance. While the lyrics can’t be understood unless you speak his tongue, one can see how The Blues easily transitions to another language across the globe and delivers passion and feeling.
The covers are Bukka White’s “Jitterbug Swing,” Charley Patton’s “Moon Going Down,” Robert Johnson’s ‘Me And The Devil Blues,” Mississippi Fred McDowell’s ‘You Gotta Move,” and Blind Blake’s “Police Dog Blues.” Despite his heavy accent, the cuts showcase that The Blues know no borders. The music of the plantation travel well and move the souls of of all who hear it.
Prakash Slim is a super guitar player and song writer. Henry D. Jones gave him a hand wit the lyrics and the original songs are all well crafted and performed. The Blues are alive both here and in Nepal thanks to Prakash Slim. If you are looking for something different and like resonator guitar, then this one might be for you!