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.

0 comments

Latest Islington News Stories

Yesterday, 17:08
A police car outside City and Islington College on Monday. Picture: Ken Mears

Three men have been bailed until late July after two 18-year-olds were stabbed in Owen’s Field on Monday afternoon.

Yesterday, 16:58
Crowds at the Whitecross Street Party two years ago. The population of Islington is set to rocket by 17 per cent in the next decade (Picture: Dieter Parry)

Islington’s population is set to soar by 37,000 over the next decade, according to government stats released today.

Yesterday, 16:00
Rocketspace's San Francisco offices

With more and more tech start-ups emerging from Old Street every day, the market for an all-in-one hub has never been more evident.

Yesterday, 14:17
Speakers at the launch of an exhibition celebrating half a century of adventure play in Islington

More than 150 people attended the launch of an exhibition telling the story of the adventure playground in Islington last week at the Islington Museum.

Yesterday, 12:58
Canonbury Primary School teacher Jackie Dodds is retiring after 36 years at the school. Picture: Ken Mears

A nursery teacher admits she will be “distraught” when she retires after 36 years at Canonbury Primary School.

Tue, 15:34
James Murray and Sadiq Khan in the Brunswick Estate, Clerkenwell, during the mayor's election campaign earlier this year. Picture: Islington Labour

Today’s appointment of an Islington councillor to London’s top housing job is “great news for the borough”.

Tue, 14:03
Idris Cartright, four and Samuel Hill, four, take part in some pond-dipping at the event

It was all smiles at Gillespie Park on Sunday as more than 500 people joined the great and the good of Islington politics to celebrate its 20th year as a nature reserve.

Tue, 12:32
The classroom at St Andrews

St Andrew’s Montessori School was this week celebrating its second successive “outstanding” award from Ofsted following an inspection last month.

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read news

Competitions

Win a BMW 1 series

There are fewer cars currently on the market more stylish and exciting than the BMW. Known all over the world as one of the best car manufacturers, the BMW is renowned for sleek designs and fantastic high quality workmanship.

Kindle 7 inch tablet

Are you looking for a brand new gadget to help you stay connected on the go and make that long journey home a bit more entertaining? Look no further. MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Kindle Fire 7” Display Tablets! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today

Subscribe