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Music lecturer regales audiences with Kashmiri folk songs

October 2009
Music lecturer regales audiences with Kashmiri folk songs

Deepali Wattal, a leading exponent of music from Jammu and Kashmir, gave superb musical performances on Aug. 22 and 23 in Atlanta, enthralling local music lovers.

Wattal, a lecturer of music at Jammu University, was in the United States at the invitation of Kashmir Overseas Association (KOA) and wanted to promote Kashmiri culture and music through her melodious voice.

For about three hours on Aug. 22 at the Banquet hall of Royal Indian Cuisine, Wattal entertained an audience that had gathered to enjoy her maiden concert in Atlanta. Her renditions of classic Kashmiri songs such as “Lalas Vantay,” “Bhoomro Bhoomro” and “Rind Poshmaal” were just superlative.

Wattal also demonstrated her range of voice and 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 Wattal on tabla was Dr. Shekhar Pendalwar, a local musician.

Wattal also sang at the benefit concert for the Senior Citizens Program (SCP) in Atlanta and at the Shiv Mandir of Atlanta the next day, Aug. 23. “At the Senior Citizen’s concert, she took the elders down the memory lane with nostalgia of ‘Old is Gold,’” said Raj Razdan, executive director of SCP.

Wattal 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,” said Surinder Dhar, president of Shiv Mandir of Atlanta.

Dr. Rakesh Raina, director of the Atlanta chapter of KOA, who coordinated Wattal’s Atlanta performances, described her as 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 playback singer to many television serials and documentaries, as well as Punjabi and Himachali movies,” he said. “Her songs and performances are often featured on radio and television programs in India.”

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