Prahlad’s musical career began at age 14, when he started taking piano lessons from the church pianist. He went on to play for several church choirs as a teenager. Inspired by folk singers such as Joni Mitchell and James Taylor, he began teaching himself guitar at 17, soon falling in love with country blues giants like Mississippi John Hurt. He was nourished by a steady diet of recorded and live blues in the 1970s, first in Richmond, Virginia, and then in the San Francisco Bay Area. In the early '80s, Prahlad met musicians such as Lightnin’ Hopkins, Taj Mahal, John Lee Hooker, Elizabeth Cotton, Sonny Rhodes, Muddy Waters, and George Harmonica Smith, sometimes playing opening sets or just sitting down to play with them.
While working on degrees in folklore in Berkeley and Los Angeles, Prahlad was exposed to ethnic and folk music communities from the United States and around the world. He became a student of the renowned Sierra Leonean guitarist/songwriter Souleman Rowgie and learned traditional “palm wine” guitar and other African highlife styles. Around this same time, he was submerged in reggae and Nyahbingi music and was introduced to African mbira music by a student of Dumisani Maraire, an mbira master from Zimbabwe. Throughout the '80s he worked on songwriting while expanding his musical skills on instruments including ethnic drums, mbira, guitar, keyboards, and birumbau, for a brief period working with a band to perform some of his own songs and reggae covers.
|In the early 1990s, Prahlad put his music aside to devote time to an academic career and raising a family. After more than 15 years, he was inspired in 2006 to begin playing music and writing songs again. Hover Near grew out of a desire to reconnect with music and to integrate some of the influences he has been exposed to over the past few decades. This is his first effort at recording his work.|