Los Angeles, USA

Feelings of the Ocean


Behind the Music

The entirety of The Outlaw Ocean was extremely emotional for me, but the chapter that specifically resonated with me was “Sea Slavery.” It baffles me that in the 21st century society maintains human slavery. After reading the stories in this section of the book, I realized I had never paid enough attention to this problem and became invested in learning more. More than 150 countries around the world are also plagued by modern day slavery and more than 20 million people are currently enslaved. The state of these people, their feelings, their loneliness — it struck a chord in me and I felt the need to express it in music.

When I started working on my music, I tried to communicate a range of emotions. There was isolation, contemplation, rage and sadness, as well as excitement and energy. These sentiments came naturally, one after the other, and I tried to translate them immediately into music. This book left a lasting and strong impression on my mind, and it’s message is one that should be experienced by everyone in whatever capacity. Music can trigger reactions, drawing connections in a song to different ideas and feelings. Finding an emotional response through melody and harmony can deeply affect people and draw their attention to the problems unveiled by this investigation.


Armenian pianist Mikael Ayrapetyan has become internationally recognized for performances of his country’s music all over the world with his Secrets of Armenia project. Mikael Ayrapetyan is a pianist, composer, producer and teacher, as well as a researcher and public figure. He has done much to popularize Armenian classical music all over the world with his Secrets of Armenia musical project, which began during his studies at the Moscow Conservatory.

Ayrapetyan was born in 1984 in Yerevan, Armenia. It was during his studies at the Moscow Conservatory that Ayrapetyan began to immerse himself in Armenian piano heritage, paying special attention to rarely performed works by Armenian composers – the research and study of which remains paramount to his career as a pianist.

This period was the start of his extensive concert activity in which he performs works by Tigranian, Chukhadjian, Komitas, Melikian, Spendiarian, Barkhudarian, Stepanian, Khachaturian, Babajanian, Arutyunian, Abrahamian, Bagdasarian, Avetisian, Mirzoyan, Amirkhanian and many other Armenian composers, which eventually led him to produce his own concerts. After completing his studies at the Moscow Conservatory, Ayrapetyan performed widely in many countries, receiving an enthusiastic response from critics and audiences alike. He was awarded the “State Prize of the Republic of Armenia” for his outstanding contribution to the development and popularisation of Armenian classical music.

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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