Zero to 180 – Three Minute Magic

Discoveries of a Pop Music Archaeologist

“Ranjana”: West Meets East

Chet Atkins‘ 1967 RCA album, It’s a Guitar World, finds him on the back cover under the banner, “The International Guitar of Chet Atkins:

Chet Atkins LP - back cover

Producer Bob Ferguson writes the following about “Ranjana” in the album’s liner notes:

[“Ranjana” and “January in Bombay“] are India’s attendants at this musical U.N. feast.  Harihar Rao, an outstanding musician from India, stopped by Nashville en route to Bombay.  Nothing would do but that he and Chet combine talents — Rao on the sitar and the gopi, a kind of drum with a pull string on it (like a miniature “washtub” bass). 

On the first selection [“January in Bombay“] the sitar learned an American folk tune; on the second Chet’s guitar learned Hindi.  The sympathetic harmonics and quarter-tone scale of the sitar are unusual to the Western ear, but they provide a cosmopolitan setting for Chet’s own sensitive finger style.


Chet Atkins & Harihar Rao (1966)

“Ranjana” – along with the rest of the album – was recorded September 6, 1966 at RCA Victor’s “Nashville Sound” Studios.


September 3, 1966

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