The Punjabi township of Sham Chaurasi has got to have one of the most evocative names in the world. The place of 84 Evenings! It conjures up a palace in my mind. A palace where each night is light and unhurried. And full of stories and ragas. Strutting peacocks.
One of the ragas coming from this palace is the one called Abhogi, which is appropriate. Abhogi means luxurious and sumptuous. It is derived from a south Indian raga and thus is also known as Abhogi kanada. It is a raga of the second quarter of the evening, close to midnight.
The following day, after a casual morning and a leisurely lunch, the palace singers offer up raga Gavati to help your contemplation and devotion. A raga with devotional and sacred tones, also referred in some quarters as Gau (cow), it clearly is a raga arising out of the Krishna cult.
The day ends. The palace’s many activities come to a close and again the singers prepare to entertain you. The raga they choose this evening is Mishra Khamaj. With Carnatic echoes once again, the singers perform the raga as the moon rises to its apex in the dark sky. The mood is of pleasure, contentment, hope and joy.
The greatest singers of the Sham Chaurasi palace were the siblings, Ustad Nazakhat Ali and Ustad Salmat Ali Khan. By way of evidence listen to the brothers sing for you with tremulous beauty and maha distinction the above named ragas.
01. Raga Abhogi Kanada
02. Raga Gavati
03. Raga Mishra Khamaj