Luke Faulkner

London, England

The State of the Seas


Behind the Music

The relationship between an artist and their audience is often deeper than simply that of creator and consumer. Rather, art has far greater depths and part of interacting with it is searching those layers for underlying meaning. Hence musicians and artists are uniquely able to guide attention to these issues in a meaningful way. When paired with impactful journalism that spotlights unethical practices that might otherwise go unchecked like The Outlaw Ocean, the result is an evocative body of work that helps make these issues more visible.

Each story featured throughout the book was rich with details and descriptions that lent themselves to the creation of my songs. I wrote “Resignation” after reading the story of Lang Long in the chapter “Sea Slavery.” It is difficult to imagine the reality of having no clear escape from such a cruel and unjust existence, but nevertheless I sought to capture the hopelessness of living in such an environment. To convey this, I kept the music soft and subdued. The melody is intentionally short and continuously repeated, all the while maintaining a muted energy that doesn’t stray from the harmonic oscillation. “Pain” was written in tribute to the suffering faced by David George Mndolwa and Jocktan Francis Kobelo aboard the Dona Liberta in the chapter, “Jail Without Bars.” The story was heart wrenching, and the music responds to this with tense dissonances between expressive lines of the soprano and tenor duet.

Luke Faulkner
About Luke Faulkner

Born in Shropshire, England in 1991, Luke studied piano and composition at Chetham's School of Music before attending Christ Church, University of Oxford on an academic scholarship to read Music (2009-12). Whilst at Oxford he studied composition with Professor Stephen Darlington and was awarded a bursary to pursue his piano studies with Nicola Eimer at the Royal Academy of Music in London.

After graduating Bachelor of Arts with “double” first class honours from Oxford, Luke continued his education at the University of Edinburgh, studying for a Master of Science in Composition for Screen. It was here that he learned about music production and engineering. He graduated top of his class in 2014.

Since University Luke has pursued a career as a composer and classical recording artist. His original piano compositions and recordings have been published by record labels including Halidon (Milan) and Cavendish Music (London), and comprise ten albums to date as well as a variety of individual releases. Through Cavendish, his compositions have been licensed for use by the BBC.

In 2017 Luke was admitted a Fellow of the Royal Schools of Music (FRSM) with distinction and, in 2018, he became a YouTube Official Artist, having set up a YouTube channel principally for his compositions the previous year. Altogether, his recordings have been streamed over 50 million times, including 30 million on YouTube, attracting 500,000 monthly listeners on Spotify and his independently produced films have featured on Classic FM's various social media pages.

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.

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