Celebrated singer Prem Dhoj Pradhan dies at 82The maestro is known for gems like ‘Ghumti ma Naau’, ‘Namana Laaj Yestari’, ‘Rajamati Kumati’, ‘Para Laijau Phool Haru’.
Legendary singer and music composer Prem Dhoj Pradhan died on Thursday afternoon. He was 82.
Known for singing gems like ‘Ghumti ma Naau’, ‘Namana Laaj Yestari’, ‘Rajamati Kumati’, ‘Para Laijau Phool Haru’, Pradhan was taken to Kathmandu Neuro Hospital at Baghdurbar, after his health condition deteriorated following infections in the chest.
Filmmaker Prakash Sayami shared on his Facebook that Pradhan passed away at 1:45 pm due to a heart attack.
Born in 1938 in Chautara, Sindhupalchowk, Pradhan’s musical career started from his home.
“My mother Pran Devi Pradhan was my biggest inspiration. Since she was an artist herself, she made me sing with her while growing up,” Pradhan told the Post last year.
In 1952, after receiving training under the guidance of Ustad Ganesh Lal Shrestha, Pradhan gave his first-ever voice test at Radio Nepal, which he had passed with good numbers.
After bagging a job at Radio Nepal, in 1957, Pradhan along with Tara Devi became the first singers in Nepal’s history to ever record a song for the national radio.
“We sang Yo Nepali Sir Uchali, which was written by Bhupi Sherchan. This was the first-ever song to be recorded in history,” shared Pradhan with the Post last year.
Celebrated singer and composer Deep Shrestha said that Pradhan’s contribution to the Nepali music industry was immeasurable.
“I am shocked and out of words to hear about his demise. He inspired a whole generation of singers and composers. It was Pradhan who built the foundation of Nepali modern music, and most of us pursued our musical journey because of him and his songs,” Shrestha told the Post. “He was not only a great singer and musician, but also a good human being as well. We are all shocked by his departure. It will be difficult to fill his void.”
Pradhan served the Nepali music industry for more than seven decades.
In his lifetime, Pradhan sang more than 700 songs. His contribution to Nepalbhasa music was also significant. He popularised many Nepalbhasa songs including, ‘Rajamati Kumati’ and ‘Wa Chhu Gali Tho Chu Gali’.
“By making Nepalbhasa songs travel to many houses through my recordings, I felt that it would help in preservation and promotion of Newa culture,” Pradhan told the Post last year. In the same interview with the Post, Pradhan also shared that he used to travel to Kolkata at his own cost to record the songs.
Likewise, Pradhan was also one of the earliest singers in the country to organise musical programmes in public places.
Founded by Dr Ram Man Trishit, Pradhan was part of Nava Kalar, a group that had legends like Manik Ratna Sthapit and Narayan Gopal as its members, and they regularly performed stage shows in Kathmandu.
In 1965, he also achieved another feat by lending his voice for one of the first songs of Nepali films. The song titled ‘Namana Laaj Yesari’ of the movie ‘Maitighar’ was composed by celebrated Indian music composer Jaidev. The song was widely appreciated for its beautiful lyrics and vocals and helped Pradhan establish himself as one of the most-sought after singers.
Pradhan’s life was filled with ups and downs. There was a time when he thought that he might need to quit singing since there was a non-malignant polyp in his left vocal cord. Likewise, his life was always filled with new challenges.
But for him, music always remained his passion, something that provided him peace and comfort.
“I had my own fair share of struggles in my life. My parents divorced when I was young. Likewise, other challenges pestered my life frequently. But in those difficult times, it was always music that eased my life and helped me battle my struggles,” Pradhan told the Post last year.
After spending almost all his life, singing and composing songs, Pradhan had shared that he was deeply satisfied with the legacy he had left.
“I am satisfied with what I have done with the time given to me. I feel happy knowing that what started as an interest for a regular boy like me eventually contributed to uplifting Nepali music,” Pradhan shared with the Post last year.