Feel the mu­sic with UK’S first all­blind or­ches­tra

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - - HTMETRO - Jay­ati Bhola

MUM­BAI: A pow­er­ful song about in­ner vi­sion, or an­tardr­ishti, com­posed by a blind mu­si­cian, will be among the pieces per­formed on Mon­day by an or­ches­tra made up en­tirely of vis­ually chal­lenged artistes.

The eight mu­si­cians will per­form on the tabla, sitar, flute, vi­o­lin and piano, at the Royal Opera House in Gir­gaum. They are all part of the UK’S first all-blind or­ches­tra, In­ner Vi­sion, and will be per­form­ing in Mum­bai for the first time, brought here in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Bri­tish Coun­cil and Arts Coun­cil of Eng­land. The or­ches­tra will be led by multi-in­stru­men­tal­ist and sitar mae­stro Baluji Shri­vas­tav, who was born in Ut­tar Pradesh and now lives in Lon­don. An­tardr­ishti is his com­po­si­tion, in­spired by a chap­ter of the Bha­gavad Gita.

“Grow­ing up, my fa­ther of­ten read the Gita to me. San­skrit fas­ci­nated me. So I de­cided to pro­duce a piece in­spired by one of the shlokas,” says Shri­vas­tav, an Of­fi­cer of the Or­der of the Bri­tish Em­pire (OBE). “The shlokas I’m draw­ing on talk about the in­ner vi­sion that Ar­jun was given by Lord Kr­ishna to see be­yond the ob­vi­ous.”

In­ner Vi­sion has pre­vi­ously per­formed in Kolkata, Goa and Delhi, and in the UK.

“It’s tough for blind mu­si­cians; we have to look out for each other,” Shri­vas­tav says. That’s ex­actly what he and his wife Linda Shan­son have been do­ing, through their Baluji Mu­sic Foun­da­tion.

Among those they have helped is Raju Mau­rya, a vo­cal­ist and tabla player based in Delhi who has per­formed in the UK through the foun­da­tion. “Mu­sic is a strong emo­tion that we all share ir­re­spec­tive of our dis­abil­ity. I’m grate­ful for the sup­port from Baluji,” Mau­rya says.

Mon­day’s In­ner Vi­sion con­cert will feature a mix of clas­si­cal and western sounds with vo­cals by Sayani Palit, a Kolkata-based vis­ually im­paired singer. “I love col­lab­o­rat­ing with dif­fer­ent mu­si­cians and here it’s al­most like a col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween two coun­tries,” Palit says. “Though we have dif­fer­ent back­grounds, when we play, it all comes to­gether beau­ti­fully.”

The idea of the con­cert is to show that dis­abil­ity is no bar­rier to cre­ativ­ity, says He­len Sil­vester, di­rec­tor for west In­dia at the Bri­tish Coun­cil. “It’s just an in­spir­ing per­for­mance.”

An­tardr­ishti – In­ner Vi­sion con­cert will be staged at the Royal Opera House, in Gir­gaum, on Septem­ber 17, from 7pm. Tick­ets start­ing at ₹300 are avail­able on­line.


The con­cert will feature a mix of clas­si­cal and western sounds.

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