Monday Melody – Hear Me Calling, Great Redeemer

Happy Memorial Day/Whit Monday!  Grateful for a long weekend to recuperate from last weekend’s visit to St. Kitts. Spent time on Saturday and Sunday with friends and was able to rest too. But here comes Tuesday!  Hey, I’m not complaining; I know too many people who would love to be employed, so I thank God for my job.  

Song/Album:  “Hear Me Calling, Great Redeemer” by Fernando Ortega  on the album This Bright Hour.
Why it made the cut:   Fernando Ortega’s singing and music are soothing to the soul, bringing to mind choruses and hymns from my youth and drawing me to a place of honest, straightforward worship.  Such is the charm of “Hear Me Calling,” a heartfelt prayer written by Ortega that calls out to the God who is present in the midst of adversity and frailty in His children’s lives.  

Something about this track makes me think of the story in Matthew 8:23-27 of Jesus calming the storm while the disciples clung fearfully to life.   I imagine Him with arms outstretched, calling me to faith in the midst of the swirling sea.  

The simplicity of the lyrics, Ortega’s unaffected delivery, and the soulful background vocals remind me that our God is, indeed, the God of the valley and of the mountaintop.

  Fernando Ortega truly does not fit the Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) mold.  
Known for successfully reworking old hymns with a simple yet modern touch and for writing memorable, clear contemporary anthems, Fernando’s is an unassuming, unconventional approach to Christian music.

His songs, often tinged with melancholy, are a mixture of folk, bluegrass, Celtic, Spanish, pop, and acoustic influences.  His 20-year-career reflects his heritage (he was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico) and his classical training as a pianist and singer/songwriter.

I’ve had the privilege of seeing him in concert twice and can attest to his gifts as a performer with a droll sense of humor, as a vivid storyteller, and as a candid worship leader.  I also admire the fact that he is a careful, thoughtful songwriter who makes the link between faith, worship, and our daily lives.  

“The most successful hymns are those that speak of God or to God in a straightforward manner without contriving to elicit some sort of predictable emotional response,” he said once in an interview.

With 17 albums and several Dove awards to his name, Fernando is no stranger to the Christian music scene, but he remains low-key, currently serving as music minister at Christ the King Anglican Church in Albuquerque.

Favorite lyrics:
The sparks fly upward while the wind blows
Like a spirit lost upon the sea
I am torn, Lord, and born to trouble
I am blind, and I am weak.

Sweet spot: The harmony of the background singers from 2:05 to 2:32

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