What imbues certain songs with an incredible sweetness which lingers forever in memory? What makes certain compositions much much more than the sum total of their ‘ingredients’ of notes, words and rhythm? I don’t know but Mysore Vasudevachar (1865-1961) sure did when he composed this beautiful song!
Vasudevachar belonged to the direct line of Tyagaraja’s disciples and therefore of impeccable musical lineage. His gurus were Veena Padmanabhayya of Mysore and Patnam Subramania Iyer of Tiruvaiyaru. He became the asthana vidwan of the Royal Court of Mysore. Much later in life he joined the faculty of Kalakshetra School of Music and Dance, finally becoming its principal. He composed more than 200 compositions in Telugu and Sanskrit. A list of his compositions is available here.
Brochevarevarura is composed in Telugu in Raga Kamas (click here to read more about this raga). Like so many bhaktas before him, and so many after him, the poet begs of Rama ‘O Sita’s husband, don’t you have regard for me? Can’t you listen to my pleas? Aren’t you Vasudeva who rushed to rescue the king of elephants. Dispel my sins, hold my hand and do not let go’. As I listen to this beautiful song, I too pray ‘Rama, I have neither beautiful words nor melody, but I plead the same; Please don’t let go of me’ !! See footnote for lyrics and translation.
Today I present an instrumental version of this song by the wonderfully talented Maestro U.Shrinivas (1969) on Mandolin.
For a vocal version, listen to this excerpt from a full concert by the Malladi brothers. I like their voice quality very much indeed.
I cannot finish this post without mentioning Brochevarevarura sung by S.P.Balasubramaniam and Vani Jayaram for the film Shankarabharanam (1979). Somayajulu as the Maestro emotes very convincingly and Manju Bhargavi shows that neither a stage nor expensive clothes and jewellery are needed to dance as our classics are meant to be danced!
Footnote (Lyrics) :
As I do not speak Telugu, I have transcribed the song in Devanagari script. The translation is heavily dependent on multiple online sources.
ब्रोचेवारेवरुरा निन्नु विना रघुवरा ननु
नी चरणाम्बुजमुनु ने विडजाल करुणालवाल
ओ चतुराननादि वन्दित नीकु पराकेलनय्या
नी चरितमु पोगड लेनु ना
चिन्त दीर्च्चि वरमुलिच्चि वेगमे
सीतापते नापै नीकभिमानमु लेदा
वातात्मजाश्रित (alternate वातात्मजार्चित) पाद नामोरलनु विनरादा
आतुरमुग करिराजुनु ब्रोचिन
वासुदेवुडवु (alternate : वासुदेवुडे ) नीवु गदा
ना पाद कामेल्ल पोगोट्टि गड्डिग
ना चेय् बट्टि विडुवग
For notation, click here.
brOchEvArevarurA ninnu vina raghuvarA nanu
nI charaNAmbujamunu nE viDajAla karuNAlavAla
O chaturA nanAdi vandita nIku parAkElanayya
nI charitamu pogaDa lEnu nA
chinta dIrchchi varamulichchi vEgamE
sItApatE nApai nIkabhimAnamu lEdA
vAtAtmajAsrita (alternate: vAtAtmajArchita) pAda nAmoralanu vinarAdA
Aturamuga karirAjunu brOchina
vAsudEvuDavu (alternate: vAsudevuDE) nIvu gadA
nA pAdakamella pOgoTTi gaDDiga
naa chei baTTi viDuvaga
O Rama, descendent of Raghu, who will save me other than you? O compassionate one, I cannot leave your lotus-like feet.
O Who is worshipped by the four-faced one (Brahma) etc, why are you so aloof sir? I am not competent enough to (assumed sing) your story. Please grant me a remedy quickly.
O Lord of Sita, don’ you have affection for me? O the one at whose feet stays (worships) Hanuman, cannot you hear my pleas? Aren’t you Vasudeva who saved the King of elephants? (refers to Gajendra moksha). Cleansing me of all sins, will you not hold my hand firmly?