Ewald J. Bash (Indiana, 1924-- ). A poet and also an occasional writer of folk melodies, his personal interests arose in the era of return to genuine folk music of the early Sixties and continued into the Seventies during the time of turmoil and crisis. His lyrics, set to a Latvian folk song, "Hymn for Those in Captivity," appears in Cantate Domine. He also composed hymns which have appeared in the hymnals of a number of communions. He was part of a folk liturgical movement in the Lutheran Church and contributed much to a development of such moods in an early work, Songs for Today. Certain of his work has also appeared in Jerusalem/Babylon: Handbook for a Christian in the Urban World.
--Ewald J. Bash, DNAH Archives
In a letter from Bash to Mary Louise VanDyke dated 12 January 1987, he states:
"'Hymn for Those in Captivity' was written in the throes of those early days of the Sixties. I actually don't remember how it all happened that well. I was writing a lot of songs. But the melody I had learned from Latvian peoples who came as Displaced Persons from Germany &, of course, Latvia in 1940. She had been the wife of the Latvian ambassador to Russia (they came to my first parish in New Lexington, Ohio. The song in its original words & its translation were hauntingly beautiful:
Who is crying, what lamenting
Sounds so sadly in the night
'Tis the orphan children crying
Bound beneath their master's might.
I also had learned the first verse in Latvian. But Psalm 137 fit the music well and well, the words came. And for the U.S. in the 1960's it felt right; as well as for South Africa and other places today."