Feel the music with UK’S first allblind orchestra
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.