Ray Lynch’s Letter on Music, Prison and War… plus Botany Bay Impressions

Road of oaks #3, Botnay Bay Photo with Watercolor treatment by Bob Grytten
Road of oaks #3, Botnay Bay Photo with Watercolor treatment by Bob Grytten

I first heard Ray Lynch’s music while on a Thanksgiving retreat with Sylva Instructor/friend Betty Perry and her friends. That event led to the production of a multimedia program which I used to open my Field Photography events. With Kathleen’s & Ray’s permission, I used music from their album Deep Breakfast. We were always asked for the name of the music, it was so well received. Later, listening to a radio program on the power of music to convey emotion, it cited Deep Breakfast for it’s Love & Joy.

We had again received permission to use Ray’s music with credit which we have done with our Dawn production. Our latest piece entitled Botany Bay Impressions includes watercolor photo enhancement and video. It has not yet been published, pending their permission. However, with their recent loss because of a fire that wiped out their home and studio, I expect communication via e-mail may be delayed. Here it is; however, on my blog for our followers to experience. Following this video, we invite you to read a letter that Ray published on Facebook, reprinted here. We appreciate Rays work and invite others to experience it. Here is Botany Bay Impressions.


Ray Lynch Letter as printed on Facebook…

Ray recently received a very nice letter of appreciation from a man who is an inmate at the Arizona State Prison for 20 years. Here is his reply.


Dear Brian,

Some years ago I started thinking about our all too numerous prison inmates when I learned that John Gotti was a fan of my music. During his last trial, a wire-tapped phone conversation was played in which Gotti spoke about taking someone out, and in the background “Kathleen’s Song” (from Deep Breakfast) was clearly audible.

I greatly appreciate, in particular, the fan mail I’ve received from two sources – intimates of US prisons and US soldiers in the Near East. People tend to make simplistic judgments, and many would say that “criminals” and “heroes” are complete opposites, but I believe they have something in common. Institutional incarceration and modern warfare are each equally a severe “trial by fire”, the kind that can typically strip anyone of their innate human open-heartedness.

I became a composer because, from the time of my birth, good music has always captured my attention, vanished my concerns, and in many cases broken my heart-broken it wide and open that great sadness and joy flooded in before the puny objections of mind could interfere. So I often walked around with a hole in my heart, wounded by beauty but strangely content none-the-less. I came to understand that great music, the beautiful, comes from the Heart and goes directly to a listening heart via the intelligence of the heart. And I finally realized that the beautiful is simply Love, and the Love is a wound that will never heal.

One can therefore see, regardless of how or why it happens, that the shutting-down of human open-heartedness is, in effect, the murder of Love. Two of the most efficient source-causes of such inhuman degradation, in turn, are wars and prisons. And this is why I so appreciate “letters of praise” from inmates and soldiers. Such letters are actually (and appropriately) praising the music rather than “the composer” – for it is the music that embodies the beautiful and opens the heart. That such a response can come from those in the worst of circumstances and most in danger of losing their humanity, tells me that despite the odds they are still spiritually alive, still sensitive and available to the beautiful, and that the music has played a part in making or keeping this so.

In reality, and at the end of the day, this is what all serious and true artists live for. I have to make a living, but I neither thrive from nor live for wealth or fame (both of which can be a pain in the ass). My job is simply to “get it right” and to then release the music into the public domain – at which point I no longer “own it” for it really belongs to all those who can hear it, take it in as their own, and be changed by it.

You can now understand why it is really I who should be thanking you, the listener, and this rather long letter is my way of doing this. I can’t respond to all my fans but inmates are special and for me, important people. So, thank you, be as well as possible, get out of prison in 10 years rather than 20, and trust the Heart, for it never lies.

Ray Lynch

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