Search

Blind Highbury musician shares power of inner vision

16:43 08 July 2012

World famous sitar player Baluji Shrivastav.

World famous sitar player Baluji Shrivastav.

Archant

Most people consider blindness to be a life-restricting disability, but for Baluji Shrivastav, losing his sight has helped him to fulfil his dreams.

After being blinded by an eye infection at eight months old in the Indian village where he grew up, the Highbury resident has used his condition to find music and travel the world.

Baluji, who has lived in Northolme Road for 30 years, is one of the world’s most respected sitar players having first picked up the Indian instrument in his school orchestra, aged eight.

And he believes his destiny would have been far different had he not lost his sight.

He said: “I don’t know if the music would still have been in me if things had happened differently, but I know I wouldn’t be here.

“I would probably still be in India as a doctor, lawyer or a prison guard like my brother. It is because I am blind that I am where I am today.”

His amazing musical ability has enabled him to work all over the globe, release albums and work with music stars such as Boy George, Annie Lennox, Massive Attack and Noel Gallagher.

His recent achievements include the creation of the Inner Vision Orchestra, which has just completed a London tour.

The group comprises 13 other blind and partially sighted musicians, and Baluji hopes they can get more exposure and acceptance in the music industry.

He said: “The problem with a lot of blind musicians is that they have very low confidence.

“They aren’t often booked for gigs because people can’t be bothered with the expense of having to look after a blind person, so this makes the performers think they aren’t good enough.

“By being part of the Inner Vision Orchestra, I hope this will build up their confidence to go out and book the gigs they want, as well as raising awareness about how to treat the blind.

“We did a few performances and workshops in India and already two of our performers were booked for work, so it shows that it can be done.”

The group will tour theUK – with Baluji’s ultimate aim being equality and exposure for blind performers.

“I really hope that one day blind musicians can be completely integrated and respected, as fully sighted musicians are,” he said.

Baluji performs next month at the Orchestra in a Field concert in Glastonbury with the British Paraorchestra.

He runs weekly workshops with Islington Outlook at the St John’s Day Care Centre, St John’s Way, Archway, on Friday evenings and blind musicians are welcome.

Latest News Stories

26 minutes ago
Cllr Andy Hull joins headteacher Harsha Patel, staff and pupils at Copenhagen Primary School to celebrate the school's accreditation as a Living Wage employer.

The town hall took a swipe at Arsenal’s pay conditions as it geared up for gala celebrations to mark Living Wage Week.

An image of a suspect in the robbery of a Ladbrokes in Islington has been released (Picture: Metropolitan Police)

CCTV of a masked suspect wearing an Arsenal football shirt during the terrifying robbery of a Ladbrokes in Islington has been released by police.

The fake 'store' set up in Finsbury Park - it is actually the Atom Gallery (Picture: Darren Cullen/Pocket Money Loans)

A “worse than Wonga” shop which appears to advertise payday loans for children has appeared in Finsbury Park.

07:00
Aston Merrygold of JLS Pic: Joe Giddens/PA

A Finsbury Park man who collects celebrity website names for cash has been forced to hand over an address to a member of boyband JLS.

Most read news

The fashion giant’s have been called out for promoting an unhealthy body image with their skeletal dummies.

Apple’s CEO has used an editorial piece in the US to come out as gay.

Party leader Nigel Farage and Ukip are to feature in a spoof Channel 4 documentary.

It’s not just a bit warmer, it will be eight degrees warmer than is normal for this time of year.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the $m.global.archantvariables.NewspaperTitle e-edition today E-edition