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, 16:08
First time buyers in Islington will need to earn 10 times the average local salary

Islington is one of the least affordable places in the UK to buy a first home.

Yesterday, 13:49
Some of the heroin found in the bust that saw Canonbury man Yasar Ozekmecki jailed for 10 years. Picture: National Crime Agency

A Canonbury member of an organised crime gang has been jailed for 10 years.

Yesterday, 11:07
HMP Pentonville in Caledonian Road (Picture: PA Wire/Anthony Devlin)

Explosive claims that drones laden with “legal highs” are being flown to Pentonville inmates, who collapse in the grounds after taking them, are made in a report this morning.

Yesterday, 07:00
More pupils were suspended for racist abuse in Islington than anywhere else in central London. Picture: PA

More Islington children were kicked out of school for racist abuse than anywhere else in inner London last year, a new league table of shame reveals.

Wed, 15:32
Collins' Music Hall in Islington Green... now Waterstone's bookshop. Picture: Nick Charlesworth

We all love Sadler’s Wells. But did you know Islington used to boast many others on the same scale? James Morris finds our borough has an extraordinary theatre heritage.

Wed, 12:42
Former London Metropolitan University building Ladbroke House in Islington

Mystery surrounds controversial plans for a new secondary free school in Highbury.

Wed, 12:10
Boris Johnson outside his home in Islington earlier this year. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA

Over 300 anarchists are expected to march on Boris Johnson’s central Islington home next Friday night.

Wed, 08:05
The Angel Comedy Club gang - Dec Munro, Sarah Pearce, Rachel Warnes and Barry Ferns

What do you get if you cross a comedy club’s pleas for funding with 1,000 passionate supporters? £46,000 and a new pub.

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read news

Competitions

Which book character do you share cleaning habits with?

Whether you have more in common with put-upon Cinderella, emotionally turbulent Jane Eyre, or easily distracted Mole, you’re sure to appreciate that one lucky winner will receive four sessions of free cleaning. Enter our quiz for your chance to win. All runners up will get £10 off their first clean when making a repeat booking.

£15k prize bundle

Imagine having the opportunity to win an incredible £15,000 bundle of some of the most amazing prizes available. Well, for one lucky contest entrant that dream could soon become a reality because we at MyOffers are offering an incredible free prize bundle that will make even the most hardened person wild with excitement.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now