About the Project

In convening hundreds of musicians from dozens of countries around a shared artistic goal, this project is meant as an act of solidarity across geographies and languages. It is also an attempt at an alternative form of storytelling and an experiment in translation from the written word into music. On the simplest level though this is simply a captivating collection of inspired songs, which range from electronic and ambient to classical and hip hop.

All of the music is based on The Outlaw Ocean, a New York Times Best-Selling book by Ian Urbina that chronicles lawlessness at sea around the world. This reporting touches on a diversity of abuses ranging from illegal and overfishing, arms trafficking at sea, human slavery, gun running, intentional dumping, murder of stowaways, thievery of ships and other topics. While reporting for more than 5 years at sea, Urbina built an audio library of field recordings. It featured a diversity of textured and rhythmic sounds like machine-gun fire off the coast of Somalia and chanting captive deckhands on the South China Sea.

Sampling these field recordings and using recorded passages from the book, the musicians sought to capture the emotions in this journalism, while also raising awareness about the dire need to protect this offshore realm and the millions of people who work out there.

A portion of the music’s revenue goes toward funding more of this ground-breaking reporting. Musicians interested to get involved, please get in touch.

Learn More about the Journalism

The Journalism

All music in this project is based on The Outlaw Ocean, a New York Times Best-Selling book by Ian Urbina that chronicles lawlessness at sea around the world. This reporting touches on a diversity of abuses ranging from illegal and overfishing, arms trafficking at sea, human slavery, gun running, intentional dumping, murder of stowaways, thievery of ships and other topics.

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