Lewis Pragasam is the initiator and head of the ASIABEAT Project, launched in 1979 initially as an exclusive percussion ensemble, later expanded to include other Asian and contemporary instruments as well as musicians into the project.
Age- 66 years
Birthplace- Kuala Lumpur
Profession-Musician, Drummer, Author
Details about Lewis Pragasam’s parents, including their names and other specifics, are not publicly available. Born in Kuala Lumpur in 1955, information about his family background remains undisclosed.
Wife and Children
Details about Lewis Pragasam’s wife and children remain undisclosed, as he chose not to share information about his personal life publicly.
Born in Kuala Lumpur, Lewis Pragasam, originally a classic/prog rock enthusiast, transitioned to jazz fusion after discovering the possibilities presented by John McLaughlin and the Mahavishnu Orchestra. Recognized as one of Malaysia’s esteemed percussionists, Pragasam aimed to establish a fusion group with a cross-cultural musical language, leading to the formation of the Asiabeat Project in 1979.
Breaking new ground in the local recording scene in 1983, Pragasam, as the creative force, saw CBS release Asiabeat’s self-titled debut album. This marked a fusion of Asian ethnic rhythms with Western jazz, setting the stage for the group’s subsequent five albums, including Dare To Dream (1984), Drumusique (1993), and Monsoon (1994).
In 2021, he unveiled the album “Akar” under Lewis Pragasam’s Asiabeat, showcasing his active involvement in the contemporary pop fusion scene.
Pragasam’s boundless energy, visionary spirit, and love for drums significantly fueled regional interest in drums and percussion. His drumming skills were frequently sought after by top local artists, such as Sheila Majid, with whom he collaborated for a jazz concert at Dewan Filharmonik Petronas in 2000. He also served as a session drummer and musician on numerous local albums across pop, rock, and jazz genres.
As one of Asia’s leading percussionists, Pragasam performed alongside renowned artists like Bob James, Nathan East, Paul Jackson, Tony Levin, Billy Cobham, and Andy Sheppard. His performances extended to major regional jazz events and international festivals, including a royal command performance for HRH The Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1995.
In the early 1990s, Pragasam received a Fulbright scholarship from the United States, conducting research on the ethnic music of Southeast Asia and world music.
During the mid-1990s, he embraced the role of a music educator, reflecting his commitment to nurturing young talent and raising awareness about drum culture. Pragasam was a familiar presence at drum clinics and percussion festivals across Malaysia. In those years, he led his own Groove School, developed the “Drum Talk” educational series, and served as the music director of the Centre of Performing Arts at HELP Institute in Malaysia.
Lewis Pragasam’s Net Worth
At the time of his passing, his estimated net worth was approximately 1 million dollars.
Lewis Pragasam’s Cause of Death
Lewis Pragasam, a revered Malaysian jazz drummer known for his commanding performances, extensive expertise in percussion and music history, and an inspiring dedication to education, has passed away at the age of 66. The news, reported by Lewis Pragasam Official Fanpage, indicates that he succumbed to a heart attack at a private hospital in Petaling Jaya around 3 am on Monday, December 18.
According to a local article, his passing occurred peacefully, surrounded by loved ones. Despite the recent posts on the Facebook page on December 16, featuring videos of Pragasam engaging with fans at an event in Shah Alam, and announcements of his scheduled performances at a Christmas event on December 17 and a live music showcase on December 21, fate had a different plan. The world has lost a true musical institution, and condolences go out to his family, friends, and the countless individuals influenced by his musical legacy.