Soetkin Milbouw

Wuustwezel, Belgium

Arctic Waters


Behind the Music

This combination of music and journalism is incredibly new to me, and I find it a refreshing and intriguing concept. Reporting often reveals important, albeit sometimes far-off, stories. Melding it with instrumental music gives it an additional layer of depth. It also taps into the feelings of an individual, enhancing the emotional experience each person has with the book and making it resonate with them in different ways. 

Normally, when I write music, it’s based on what I’m feeling or based on certain things that inspire me in the hopes that it will do the same for listeners, and maybe even move them to reflect on their lives. But, with The Outlaw Ocean Music Project, there was a higher purpose to my songs and I, as an artist, was one small part of something bigger and greater than me. While my music was still based on my emotions, it was all in reaction to Ian’s reporting. Its purpose was not only to move those who listen, but also the people in these stories.  

While reading The Outlaw Ocean, I was stunned by the indifference to and violations against nature and human rights that Ian described. But I noticed, with each chapter, buried underneath the gloomy reality of the sea were moments of hope and people trying to bring about change, despite the bleak circumstances. My music is a tribute to them, and I hope that their messages and stories are conveyed to whoever listens.

Soetkin Milbouw
About Soetkin Milbouw

Soetkin Milbouw is a Belgian contemporary pianist and composer. Soetkin had an early introduction to music, learning the piano from her grandmother at a young age. After years of learning classical music, she began finding her own sound and started composing music inspired by contemporary classical composers such as Ludovico Einaudi and Ólafur Arnalds. After the release of her first EP “Nubes Papilio” in 2017, Soetkin teamed up with the New York-based label Sonder House for the release of “Equinox.”

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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