WOW | Musical Conversation

Prakash Saput – Connecting from the heart

Text by: Pabita Dahal
Photo file: Ram Tandukar

Prakash Saput has amassed a sizeable following on YouTube; he made his mark by giving audiences one hit experimental folk number after another such as Dohori Battle, Dohori Battle 2 and Bola Maya. Recently his folk song Galbandi received over 17 million views within a month. But, this is not all that makes him popular; he has connected with his fans through the sheer realistic representation of the ongoing rural trends in his lyrics and music videos. His song Bola Maya bagged the 20th Annual Image Award in the Best Folksong Collection category.

Tell us about your musical journey…

Since my school days, I used to compose songs based on various social issues like discrimination, women rights, untouchability, etc. I participated in many inter-school and inter-district song competitions and won multiple awards. After completing my SLC, I went to Baglung Bazar to do my further studies. There I worked in the radio which gave me the opportunity to know many artistes. After completing my plus two, I came to Kathmandu to start my career. Initially, it was very challenging for me. I worked at a hotel and Dohori Sanjh. After a year of struggle, I recorded my first album in 2069  and this was also the starting of my modelling career.

You showcase the reality of migration in most of your songs, what makes you interested in this subject?

Nowadays foreign employment is increasing every day and most working youths, especially from rural areas, go abroad to find better opportunities. But many of them suffer in poor working conditions while some return home in coffins.

My father also worked in a foreign country for many years and I did not get a chance to spend much time with him. Hence, I understand the psychology of those who are waiting for their loved ones to return home.

Also, telling the story of Pardeshi is an important feature of folk song, and being a folk singer I want to keep that legacy.

Are the stories of Bola Maya and Galbandi interconnected?

In one sense, Bola Maya was incomplete in itself. Though people loved it, there was a curiosity about what happens next. Hence, I felt that the second part was a must.

However, these two are completely different songs and both have different listeners and audiences. I have made Galbandi representing the traditional Rodhi culture of Nepal in which singers create lyrics on the spot. I had not planned to link them while making Galbandi but later I thought it would be a good idea to connect with Bola Maya to make the story more interesting.

What is the secret to your success?

I try my best to come up with a good story then try to present it with suitable melody.

There is a generation which does not listen to folk songs considering it old fashioned. My intention is to make them listen. I have tried fusing folk with modern elements and presented the Dohori Battle. It has an original flavour which the audiences loved. And honestly, I didn’t expect it to garner this much success.

People nowadays are not only listeners, they also search for strong content; they are looking for heart touching story. So in case of Galbandi and Bola Maya, we have captured the heart more than the ears.

Your first song…
Musu Musu Nahasa, 2069

A song you are proud of
I love all of my songs but I love listening to Charara Barara when I am alone.

Have you ever tried singing other genres?
No, but I have written lyrics and composed songs of other genres.

Meaning of ‘Saput’
Good son

On your wish-list
Singing a traditional Nepali folk song in a big international stadium in front of millions of people from all over the world.

Your message
Stay positive, stay happy and stay simple.

How has success changed your life?

Success does not come alone, it brings challenges and responsibilities. I feel happy to live my dream and make a name for myself. There hasn’t been a huge change in my lifestyle though I have just become busier. More than me, my family’s lifestyle has changed; a lot of people recognise them now.

You are a complete entertainment package: dancing, singing, directing, creating concepts and acting. Have you considered working in movies?

I am getting numerous offers for movies as an actor, director, and even as a scriptwriter. Although I am very thankful for their trust and love, I want to contribute more to the music field for a few more years.  If I venture into movies, I want to come up with my own story plot.

You have raised curiosity amongst audiences at the end of Galbandi, have you thought about the story of Bola Maya 2?

Currently, I am enjoying feedback and support for Galbandi. I don’t have anything in mind regarding the story of Bola Maya 2. I have created the suspense to keep the audience connected with Bola Maya brand. People will wait for Bola Maya 2 even if I don’t bring any other song for some time. It will probably release before Jestha of 2077.

What are you currently busy with?

I am currently making music videos for Teej.

Advice for those who want to try their hand at folk music…

Recognise your capacity first because dreaming only does not take you to your destination. You need hard work, passion, determination and internal capacity to fulfil this dream. Unfulfilled dreams hurt a lot. Prepare yourself to face failures. Even if you cannot meet the summit of your expectations, learn to satisfy yourself but never give up. In one point in my career, I had decided to leave the music field; I could not reach the expected point of success even after four years of struggle. Then Dohori Battle gave me hope and I continued again.