North Indian Classical Musician,
Composer & Educationalist

Baluji on stage performing Indian in London Image of Sohini Mahival - Composed by Baluji Shrivastav and Dario Marianelli Guitar Sitar Suite Score Baluji lying down with the Rhythm Ensemble Text about Song Celestial Ballad of Sandeep

Composer

Baluji has been commissioned to write new works for concerts, TV, Film, Theatre and Dance 


COMMISSIONED NEW WORKS FOR CONCERT PERFORMANCES.

Taal Zindagi: Rhythm of Life Percussion Orchestra

Commissioned by Croydon Mela Supported by PRS Foundation and Arts Council England 
Inspired by the rhythms of life celebrated composer and Indian Classical musician Baluji Shrivastav leads a powerful new percussion ensemble which will draw on rhythms from the Indian Subcontinent and beyond.  Working with the rhythms of our everyday lives; be it the first beats of the heart, the patterns of our speech; all that goes on around us in cycles as we move from birth to death/rebirth.
The performance features 8 mesmerising  London based percussionists including Baluji Shrivastav (pakhavaj & gopi), Manjit Rasiya  (tabla), R.R. Prathap (gatam, clay pot),  R.N. Prakash (mridangam double headed drum),  Kadiah Sitha (Jews Harp), Oded Kafri  (kit), Wlimer Sifontes (Latin persussion) and Hashuo Liu (Chinese drums). 
 
The professional musicians can be joined on stage by up to 40 local young and amateur musicians who will be introduced to Indian percussion over a number of workshops prior to the performance.

Duration:40 mins

Song Celestial-Ancient Wisdom New Music 


Commissioned by St. Ethelburga’s Centre for Peace and Reconciliation and premiered there. Supported by PRS Foundation and Arts Council England  
Nominated for British Composer’s Award. This is a scored composition.

Baluji Shrivastav brings the ancient mystical Bhagavad Gita alive with this newly commissioned composition presented together with the spoken word.
The Bhagavad Gita (also called the mokshashastra) is one of the great scriptures of the world and has been celebrated over the generations by many great artists. Baluji was taught to recite the Gita in Sanskrit by his father as a boy and a particular moving chapter “Viswarupadarsha yoga" (Revelation of the Divine Form) has been the source of inspiration in the creation of this composition.  In this particular chapter, Arjun is given “divine sight” in order to perceive the divine form of Lord Krishna (and all the universe) and go beyond the limits of ordinary human perceptions.  On a personal level for Baluji Arjun represents the world and Krishna the source of knowledge and wisdom. Song Celestial is his exploration of these ideas and their universality through music.

Sanskrit in addition to it’s use in religious texts it is believed that the very sounds and resonance of Sanskrit (which is chanted) can affect consciousness and alter perception..
Within the piece each of the instruments symbolize a character or element: Surbahar the mature Krishna, Violin Arjun,  Kora the battle field Kurukshetra where the story of the Gita and Mahabharata take place. As in the narrative of the Gita where Sanjay depicts the action of the story to the blind King Dhritrashtra, so the poet/storyteller guides us with the spoken word.

Duration: Up to 90 mins 5 performers


The Tragic Love of Sohini and Mahival  An Urdu Oratorio

Music by Baluji Shrivastav and Dario Marianelli, Libretto by Baluji Shrivastav
Commissioned by The Indian In London Festival with support of the Arts Council of England premiered at Union Chapel Islington London
This work is fascinating in many respects. It is based on a famous Indian love story using vocalists and musicians from both Indian and Western disciplines. This work extends the tradition of oratorio and opens up new possibilities for indian music. The process of collaboration is challenging, especially for composers with such differing perspectives. The result is a moving portrayal of a powerful story.
This is a scored composition.

DARIO MARIANELLI composer
Dario Marianelli (born in Pisa, Italy) is a composer of piano, orchestral, and film music. He has composed the soundtracks for The Brothers Grim (2005) and Pride and Prejudice (2005). He received Oscar nominations for Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures Original Score for Pride and Prejudice and Atonement. He has won Best Original Score for the score of Atonement at the 80th Academy Awards and Golden Globe for Best Original Score. He has collaborated with Joe Wright three times, including Pride and Prejudice, Atonement and The Soloist and Anna Karenina.

BALUJI SHRIVASTAV- musical director, composer, librettist, multi-instrumentalist performing sitar, surbahar, dilruba, swaramandal
Baluji was born in Usmanpur in India and was sent away to residential blind school when he was five years old where he began learning music. The traditional paths to a music career were difficult for a blind person to follow. He could not have access to them. However his outstanding  musical ability and his determination to overcome the barriers he encountered led him to Europe and eventually to the UK. He was the first composer of non-Western music to be awarded a commission with support from the Arts Council. Since then he has composed several outstanding compositions. His mastery of Indian Classical music and his versatility have taken him all over the world to perform and record with a wide range of artists such as Stevie Wonder, Massive Attack and Annie Lennox.

Like their European cousins Romeo and Juliet, Sohini and Mahival are tragically star-crossed lovers and their powerful story is a rich source of inspiration


THE STORY

Originally set in a village in the Punjab region of India, the childhood sweethearts grow up on opposite banks of the river Chinav, innocent of the barriers of caste and religion which are to daunt them. Sohini, a Hindu girl falls in love with Mahival, a Muslin boy. When she comes of age, she is forced by her parents into an arranged marriage. However, the conventions of society cannot tame their passion and they continue to meet in secret. Eventually, the family finds out, and Sohini’s    sister-in-law makes a hole covered with unbaked clay in the clay pot which Sohini has been using as a ballast to cross the river at night to visit her lover. On one fateful night, as Sohini makes her way across the water, she starts to sink, shouting out to Mahival to save her. He desperately swims out to her rescue, but when he reaches her, they are both tragically pulled under to their deaths by the strong current. 
Cast 5 Vocalists, 3 musicians. 

Duration: 40 mins


AN INDIAN IN LONDON for sitar and string orchestra. Commissioned by The Indian In London Festival supported by Arts Council England. Premiered at Union Chapel Islington London

This expresses the experience of immigration through music . It is a valuable addition to the understanding of the hopes and fears of the swathes of humanity who have left their homeland to find a better life elsewhere. It follows the journey from India to the streets of London depicting the mixed emotions felt on the way.
This is a scored work.

Duration: 50 mins


SITAR GUITAR SUITES commissioned by renowned guitarist Timothy Walker with support from the Arts Council Great Britain. Premiered at Purcell Rooms South Bank London.
This is a scored work.

The composition is a garland of scales emanating from Thaat Poorvi. The first movement begins with an exploration of chords and harmonies followed by a guitar/sitar duet in 7 beats, discovering 3,5,8,11, and 13 beats within roopak of 7 beats.
The second movement begins with a composition including an improvised section. Thirteen ragas in Poorvi  Thaat unfold.
The third and shortest movement consists of sitar and guitar together followed by a simple jhala concluding with a tihayi.


Potraits Of The Dark- Commissioned by the Association of Blind Asians and supported by Arts Council. Seven autobiographical sound pictures. Premiered at Purcell Rooms South Bank Centre London

Duration: 40 mins 7 performers


PUSHPANJALI commissioned by Tara Arts being the first Non-Western Music commissioned with the support of the Arts Council premiered at Battersea Arts Centre London


COMPOSING FOR TV, FILM, THEATRE AND DANCE. 

Baluji may not be able to see, but he can feel!


Film and TV Music

Baluji’s music has been used extensively in the American TV sitcom Outsourced. 

Baluji played in Ballad of Sadeep an award winning film directed by Derek Fry. 

He has also created music for various TV and radio shows including Channel 4 Blood Strangers with Dario Marianelli. 

'Masala' directed by Srinivas Krishna
'A Love Supreme' directed by Nilesh Patel
'Savitri' documentary film.


Theatre

His music for theatre is powerful and has enhanced many productions with rave reviews.
Composer & Musical Director for productions of  Little Clay Cart,  Tejo Vania  and Stories not for Telling - Tara Arts
Assistant musical director for British Asian Theatre, FilmFilmFilm , by Farouk Dhondy Featuring Meera Syaal at Shaw Theatre London
Composer and musical director Shakuntala The Lost Ring,  Theatre Royal Stratford East
Musical Director Untouchable,  Tamasha Theatre at Riverside Studios
Blood Wedding Kali Theatre at Oval House Theatre 

 
Music for Dance

Baluji composed and recorded music for various dance dramas including Fiercer Kind of Being and the Golden Deer which toured throughout the UK
He has played  and toured with some of the world’s greatest Indian Dancers such as Akram Khan and Nahid Siddiqui