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Song Information

The information about the sources and the particular context of each song is a work in progress. These summaries, variously based on the observations of composers, writers, and/or authoritative interpreters of each song, are provided to assist in the presentation, teaching, and performance of this music. We welcome additional or corrective information to this resource, which may be sent to


Calypso Alleluia

This can be sung as a round, or "layered," (with each line sung repeatedly by a specified group from the congregation and/or choir). The percussion parts are optional, but would be effective to include; other percussion parts can also be improvised. This is also available as part of a collection of 62 Responses, Benedictions, Introits, and Chalice Lighting Songs. Contact the composer at or write 4093 Fragile Sail Way, Ellicott City, MD 21042.

Comfort Me

A song written in 1995. The composer writes, “It was written on a day when I wasn’t doing my life very well or very gracefully. My partner and I were being quite snarley with each other; I didn’t want to be around people and was generally feeling intolerant. I was in no mood to be nice, loving, or anything of the sort. We were visiting friends who lived on a mountaintop in Northern California. The house had no power or running water, but, luckily for me, I did have a baby grand piano in fairly good tune. (It was glossy white, no less. I kept expecting Liberace to walk in). Music has always had the ability to take me out of myself (or more into myself as the case may be). It was in this spirit that I went to the piano that day. I sat there for a while and just let my fingers wander around the keys. After a while, a chord progression presented itself. As I began to feel better, I decided to ask for guidance in how to get out of the terrible mood I had succumbed to. And then came the words. They were a combination of a prayer and a plea. As I began to believe the words that I was singing, I was able to lighten up and find compassion for myself, then my partner, then the others we were with. I continued to sing the song to myself until I felt ready to carry that gentle, compassionate energy with me.”

Comfort Me has been sung in a number of settings from concerts, to worship services, to community gatherings, to healing circles. It is a song that seems to work most effectively when sung by a group. It lends itself easily to people making up and adding harmonies, and this is encouraged by the composer. It is the composer’s hope that those who sing or hear this song find that it brings them deeper into themselves and their communities.

Cuando el Pobre

This is a Roman Catholic hymn, inspired by the mid-20th century Liberation theology that sustained both people and clergy in Latin America but alarmed popes and religious conservatives in Rome. This hymn comes from a culture that has blended Christian liturgy with indigenous spirituality. In the Andean region of South America, the supreme creator is Viracocha. The legend of the Indians is that Viracocha disguised himself as a beggar and wandered the earth, weeping at the plight of his creatures. It is believed that he would return in time of trouble as stated in the song, "We see God, here by our side, walking our way."

The English translation is by the Rev. Martin A. Seltz, a Lutheran (ELCA-the U.S. non-fundamentalist Lutheran body) minister/musician in Minneapolis, MN, who made the translation for Renewing Worship Songbook, the 2003 hymn/worship supplement published by Augsburg Fortress, the publishing house of the ELCA. Seltz is also one the editors at Augsburg Fortress.

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Last updated on Monday, April 9, 2012.

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