Ram Prakash Pokharel, aka, Prakash Slim an international artist/performer and educator of the blues was born on June,17th, 1980, in a field. It was during the rainy season, of a small village called Lamatar, in the Lalitpur district, of Nepal. The village saw its first electric bulb in 1983 and its first motor car only in 1995. He was raised by a loving, loyal family that had very limited means. His father passed away at the age of 29, leaving his mother with three children to raise, One elder brother, a sister & Prakash. What food they could manage to obtain was earned by their mother, who worked in their neighbors’ fields. He went to a public school where instead of desks and benches, they had mats made of straw. When asked what his ambition was when young, Prakash Slim replied, ‘Ambition was a privilege for rich kids back then. The only ambition I had was sustaining life.’
He has been interested in music since he was a child. He'd play music by drumming against a water gallon where he'd sing songs all day. Music drew him to it's world. When it called out to him he couldn’t resist. His most prized possession back then was a bicycle that his sister gifted him after she landed a job. Prakash wanted to learn & play the guitar but he didn't have the money to buy one. He confesses that he bought his first guitar by selling his bicycle, telling his family that a friend had taken it for a few days. He learned guitar with a local teacher for a few months in 1998 and started practicing himself. He recorded his first pop song in 2000 and started performing on the stage.
For two years, Prakash gave up everything else, to search for a mentor who could teach him everything he needed to know about music theory. He finally found a teacher, a legendary musician named C.B. Chhetri, though he lived 10 km away from Prakash's own home. His passion for music was so enormous that he never missed a lesson. Whether it stormed or rained, he always arrived, ahead of time, and ready to learn.
For years, after learning a working, journeyman's knowledge of the guitar, he accepted his mentor (C.B. Chhetri) ‘s offer to join his band and gigged in a circuit of restaurants playing rock blues music and instrumental. At the same time, he started teaching music in schools and institutions.
In 2008 he participated in a workshop entitled Teaching Music Effectively" conducted at Kathmandu Jazz Conservatory by the US Cultural Embassy envoy; Dr. Gene Aitken. It had been fine playing in Rock Blues and Instrumental Bands all those years, however, Prakash's thirst for musical knowledge, and deeper musical experiences, couldn't be quenched. He would listen Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton. When he first heard B.B King, he became thirsty to learn his magical intervals; 6th, 9th, major 3rd, and minor third. But when he heard Charely Patton, Robert Johnson, Bukka White, Fred McDowell, Mississippi John Hurt, Blind Blake, and many other country blues artists he knew this would be his main style as he felt in his heart.
Overwhelmed by what he heard, he began researching more & more about Blues music & its history. He also took much of his existing repertoire and started experimenting by adding Blues licks & Blues grooves to them. There he gradually learned more expanded theory and a deeper understanding of how chords and progressions are formed both physically and numerically. From 2003 - 2015 he kept busy playing lead and/or rhythm guitar, and bass as well as a vocalist for various bands throughout Nepal. (From 2003 - 2010 he played in "The Sound of Music" band, from 2008 - 2010 in the "Black Hawk Nepal" band and from 2012 - 2015 in "The Plus" band) .
In 2015, he received an invitation to attend a musical retreat at Walden School of Music, San Francisco, California, USA. A major earthquake though hit Nepal in 2015. Buildings crumbled down to dust and Prak's hopes too were also shattered as he was unable to attend the retreat. The devastation hit him hard and personally. For the next several years an insurmountable fear and pain were a constant in his life. The Blues became his solace and his very best friend.
In February 2017, he fell sick and was advised bed rest. While he was scrolling through his news feed aimlessly, he came across a Facebook page named “Acoustic Blues Pickers”. He was intrigued by seeing a world of blues lovers like himself. There he listened to Robert Johnson’s “Me and the devil blues”. He practiced playing it for a week and shared what he played on the page. A Facebook friend, on seeing his post on the page, offered to help him and magnanimously sent him a resonator guitar and some slides.
Prakash Slim has not only been playing and doing research in Blues but has also been teaching BITS, aka, Blues In The Schools. He does Blues exhibitions for his school in Nepal. No doubt... he's committed to playing forward BITS programs, and hence, is living, by example the axiom "keeping the blues alive." in Nepal & beyond.
Prakash has it in his heart that one day, he will play the Blues with a national guitar in Mississippi. For him, it's the Mecca of the Blues ... the land that gave birth to blues, the land in which he says 'is sacred to him." In April of 2023 Prakash sat on the front porch of the Riverside Hotel in Clarksdale MS. He sat on the same bench that John Lee Hooker once sat and he played his resonator guitar for the hotel owner Zee Ratliff and her staff.
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