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“Remember Me, Not My Shame” — Fernando Ortega

by johncalvinyoung | July 10th, 2010

My good friend Tristany recently reintroduced me to an artist I’d heard of before but had never had time to check out properly. Fernando Ortega is a classically trained pianist, singer, and songwriter whose music draws on classical, Latin American, country, and Celtic influences to create some of the most beautiful, reverent acoustic music for worship and life I have ever heard. The first song of his I heard, and still my favorite (although he has an excellent collection of old hymns done RIGHT) is the following, “Shame”:

Though I am weak, sometimes weary
In times of trial I hide my face
In the balance, judge me wholly
Please don’t judge me
By my shame

In dark hours of confrontation
When words may fall too soon to unsay
Don’t mistake them for my true meaning
They are measures
Of my shame

I have tried to live life humbly
Not a coward, not in vain
When my meekness overcomes me
Remember me, not my shame
Not my shame

I am small and self-conscious
Every mirror reflects the grain
Judge my essence by my kinships
Remember me
Not my shame

I am weak, sometimes weary
Sometimes small, I hide away
When my hours are all accounted
Please don’t bind me
To my shame


Ortega’s arrangements of traditional hymns, particularly little-known Celtic hymns, are among the best I’ve ever heard. His music is typically expressive, without being overly embellished–the hymns in particular are well-suited to sing along with. I hope you will find his music, as I do, unusually appropriate for a Sunday morning, and well worth listening to throughout the week.

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