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 News Stories

16:45
Small business owners were given plenty of advice at the start-up day

Budding entrepreneurs were given hints and tips from the likes of Google and Barclays at a special event on Thursday.

13:19
An Islington dinner lady is up for School Chef of the Year. Pic: Anthony Devlin/PA

An Islington dinner lady has reached the regional finals for School Chef of the Year

Yesterday, 17:40
Dr Dhanuson Dharmasena

A mother who allegedly had female genital mutilation performed on her by a doctor at the Whittington Hospital has condemned the practice while giving evidence in court.

Yesterday, 17:01
A general view of Exmouth Market in London EC1R showing Gulsham Tandori restaurant which has been forced to shut.

Restaurant owners have spoken out after feeling “forced” from Exmouth Market to make way for new high-end businesses.

Most read news

People thought the Deputy Prime Minister was pretty funny actually.

Brothers: The David Haines Story, will be broadcast on BBC Radio Scotland at 10.30am on Sunday.

Over £30,000 has been raised in a couple of days for a mugging victim, despite the goal only being set at £500.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the $m.global.archantvariables.NewspaperTitle e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24
Our trusted business finder