Christina Higham

Melbourne, Australia

Bodies of Water


Behind the Music

The most challenging part of the creative process was sifting through the wealth of inspiring material to determine what the main guiding element should be — a specific part of The Outlaw Ocean, an idea for the music, one of the field recordings, the atmosphere or mood. I’ve also never used ambient sounds to make music before. I didn’t really come to a definitive answer and, instead, each piece explored a slightly different approach, enabling me to experiment with a multitude of approaches. In the past, I’ve been inspired by my compositions as they emerged. With this project, I was inspired by the field recordings, Ian’s vivid writing and the songs themselves as they came into fruition. Each element fed into each other. It was very satisfying when everything came together because it was something that felt unique from most other projects I’ve worked on. 

One of the things I did find myself most interested in and drawn to were the human stories I read in the book, such as that of David George Mndolwa and the sea slaves. Although many of these tales are full of sorrow, I wanted to translate a tone of hope while acknowledging the seriousness of the situation. In doing so, I hope that this will bring these issues to a wider audience that can then drive a change, which to me is the main goal of this project and Ian’s reporting.

Christina Higham
About Christina Higham

Christina Higham is an Australian composer, pianist and performer based in Brunswick, Melbourne. Currently writing and recording on her soulful 100-year-old upright piano, Christina is constantly drawn to its huge dynamic scope, mellow depth and sensitivity. She believes every piano has its own life and character, and is inspiring in a unique way. An intuitive composer, Christina's works evolve and take shape organically while improvising, which for her is a place of meditative solace, discovery and freedom. 

Her most popular track, “The Coldest Day Of The Year,” was released in 2019 by NYC indie label, Sonder House Music, and she has also released music with renowned neoclassical label 1631 Recordings. She has appeared on numerous piano compilations, including “The Minimal Piano Series 2” (2018) released by Blue Spiral Records and “Recollections Vol. 2” & “Recollections Vol. 3” by Sonder House music (2019). She self-released her debut EP, “Between Wild Orange Trees” in May 2019. Christina's 2019 collaborative work for film and two pianos, “The Unravelling” was awarded Best Music Show at the Melbourne Fringe Festival, and she continues to create as the duo, Nomads Like Us. Christina is currently working on a number of projects, including two upcoming releases with German label Silent Beat Records and a concept album set for release in 2021.

The Journalism behind the Music

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.

Learn More