Praful Dave – The Pride Of Gujarat!
Last night I happened to be at Praful Dave’s live Dayro (the Gujarati way of telling folklores) program at the Town Hall, Ahmedabad. Though, I had no definite info if he was performing there or not, I decided to have a chance and was handsomely rewarded in the due course by him and his colleagues with three soothing, musical hours. I personally rate Prafulbhai, as he is fondly called by his die hard fans and co-musicians, at par with some of the best bygone Hindi music legends. To make it simpler, let me name Kishore Kumar, Mohammed Rafi and Mukesh. The only difference being Dave doesn’t cater to the wider Hindi-Urdu speaking audiences of this subcontinent. The rest, in my opinion, remains the same. He can move and mesmerized you and drag you into ecstasy with his ever lengthening ALAAPs and mystical voice. He can generate the same euphoria and passion that any other virtuoso might happen to instill in you.
And those loving his genre of music do appreciate it by attending most of his Dayro programs. Remember, this was the age of multi-million Bollywood flicks, cricket leagues and a society that was fast getting influenced by the western culture. Yet Praful Dave’s listeners, however limited in strength, are a buoyant entity. They make a point by attending his Dayros throughout Gujarat and elsewhere. They seem to be reminding him, he was the sole lord of Gujarati folk arena…none else could reach his stature!
And the master also kept his fans duly entertained by breaking into impromptu folk gyrations last night. He also experimented with various folk music sub-styles from within Gujarat. He thanked the audience by saying, it was always motivating to watch die hard Gujarati Lok Sahitya and Sangeet fans around. “The love, honor and recognition attained to one’s SURAs and RAGAs were more precious as compared to any monetary rewards gained in the process,” he said. Roughly four to five hundred people made it there by paying various entry fees that they would hardly cough out otherwise, but for watching a Hindi movie or a ODI cricket game.
Also, on the dais was Harsur Ghadhvi, another Dayro exponent and somebody, who could make you laugh without barriers. I missed out most of what he said though. In fact, I did not understand most of what Praful Dave sang either, since most of it was rhymed in the regional dialects from withing Gujarat and I, originally from North India, could still not claim to know anything else apart from SHUDDH (pure) Gujarati. This, despite having lived in Ahmedabad for over 35 years. My bad luck or lack of sincerity, whatever!
But, the way I listened to KK’s magical singing while growing up, so did I do to Praful Dave’s melodious voice – he is far younger compared to the Bengali legend though. As a result, I carried the influences of both these singers since my early life. I must also add here, there may be a whole generation of folk music lovers, specially in the interiors of Gujarat, who might wish to trace back their youthful and romantic days in the annals of Prafulbhai’s genre of music, since the late 70s. This should tell non-Gujaratis, why I could be hailing this man so much!
Watch out two cellphone videos recorded at the Town Hall by me. The video quality is poor, a friendly caution.
Those interested can have a better video to watch here.