BY JYOTHSNA HEGDE
Deepali Wattal, a leading exponent of music from Jammu and Kashmir State in India, gave superb musical performances on Sat. August 22nd and Sun. August 23rd in Atlanta, enthralling and regaling the local music lovers. Wattal, who is a lecturer of music at Jammu University, is in the United States at the invitation of Kashmir Overseas Association (KOA) and wants to promote Kashmiri culture and music through her melodious voice.
For approximately three hours on August 22nd, at the Banquet hall of Royal Indian Cuisine, Deepali entertained and enchanted an audience that had gathered to enjoy her maiden concert in Atlanta. Her renditions of the classic Kashmiri songs such as, “Lalas Vantay”, “Bhoomro Bhoomro” and “Rind Poshmaal” were just superlative.
Deepali also demonstrated her range of voice and her mastery as a vocalist by singing Urdu Ghazals by Mirza Ghalib and other famous poets and nostalgic K.L. Saigal songs.
The audiences broke into spontaneous dance and ovation at the beat of her fast numbers of Bollywood and Punjabi drum.
Her rendering of classic Geeta Dutt songs such as, “Babu ji Deere Chalna” in her mellifluous voice was spellbinding. Accompanying Ms. Wattal on ‘Tabla’ was Dr. Shekhar Pendalwar, a local and favorite Atlanta musician, in his own right. Dijjotam Raina and Dr. Rajinder Singh kept the audio/PA system moving flawlessly for her entire concert.
Deepali also sang at the benefit concert for the Senior Citizens Program (SCP) in Atlanta and at the Shiv Mandir of Atlanta next day on Sunday, August 23rd.
“At the Senior Citizen’s concert, she took the elders down the memory lane with nostalgia of ‘Old is Gold’," reported jubilant Raj Razdan, Executive Director of SCP.
Deepali delighted the devotees of Shiv Mandir with her plethora of Bhajans. “It was a real treat and our good fortune for a singer of her fame to grace our Temple on the auspicious day of Ganesh Chaturthi and Teej”, exclaimed Surinder Dhar, President of Shiv Mandir of Atlanta. “Deepali brought us good news of the approval of the City Permit for the start of Construction of our new Temple for which the ground breaking is being planned in the immediate future,” said Veena Gouri, an active co-founder of Shiv Mandir.
Drs. Divya Raina and Rakesh Raina (Director of Atlanta Chapter of KOA), who coordinated Deepali’s Atlanta performances, were appreciative of Deepali’s humility of accommodating numerous requests despite of her busy schedule. Dr. Raina observed, “Beautiful Deepali Wattal is a unique and real talent. She sings in many languages and dialects including Kashmiri, Dogri, Punjabi, Sindhi, Himachali and Gojri and has given her voice as a play back singer to many television serials and documentaries as well as Punjabi and Himachali movies. Her songs and performances are often featured on radio and television programs in India.”