George Harrison Sitar to go Under the Hammer

RBN Web Desk: A sitar owner and used by The Beatles star George Harrison while recording the Norwegian Wood song will be put for auction in the US on 28 September. Nate D Sanders, the agency in charge of the auction, has fixed the minimum bid price at $50,000.

The sitar was bought from an Oxford Street shop in London and was originally manufactured at a renowned Kolkata music shop. The instrument was later gifted to George Drummond, a friend of Patti Boyd, the first wife of Harrison.

In 1965, George Harrison discovered the instrument on the sets of Help, the second film of The Beatles. The band shared a very special relationship with India. The Beatles are credited to have introduced several forms of Indian music to the West. It was the first western band to use a sitar. Harrison travelled to India the following year to learn to play the instrument from Ravi Shankar.

The sitar maestro later told BBC’s Mark Tully in an interview that he couldn’t believe the way George Harrison played the sitar for the first time. It sounded strange, much like an Indian villager playing the violin knowing how the instrument is expected to sound, he said.

The partnership between George Harrison and Ravi Shankar strengthened. They later produced a few albums together. In 1971, they organised The Concert for Bangladesh. It was the first major charity fundraising programme by a rock band.

But Harrison’s involvement with India wasn’t only limited to music. He led The Beatles to explore Eastern mysticism, which had a profound effect on his life.

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