That night, the Concordia hit a rock off the coast of Giglio Island, Italy and sank. Thirty people were confirmed dead, and another two remain missing and presumed dead. The Captain and several other crew members will be charged with a variety of charges involving that night, the wreck and the deaths.
Benji Smith and Emily Lau, honeymooners on the cruise, escaped from the wreck that night, but this started an adventure that included them rappelling down the hull in search of rescue, then through Rome as they struggled to find their way home. They had to rely on the kindness of strangers to provide them with food, shelter, and clothing.
They survived, and now, one year to the day after the shipwreck, they are simultaneously publishing a memoir detailing their experience, and an album of original compositions inspired by the disaster.
The book, written by Smith and titled Abandoned Ship: An Intimate Account of the Costa Concordia Shipwreck, tells the story of the couple’s harrowing journey escaping from the sinking vessel.
“I’ve never been so terrified in my life,” says Smith. “When all the lifeboats left us behind, Emily and I truly thought we were going to die. This was our honeymoon cruise, but we actually said goodbye to each other.”
“This experience forced us to confront the fragility of our existence,” says Lau. “But over the past year, paradoxically, it also gave us courage. The courage to seek justice for this catastrophe, and the courage to find beauty even when justice is elusive. That’s really what this album is all about: when life gives you a shipwreck, make shipwreck music."
Lau draws from her experience as an active touring classical musician to craft her new album, Isle of Lucidity. According to a press release, the album is 'grounded in medieval polyphony and colored with modern chromatic sonority, she develops a unique musical language and paints a series of vignettes, alternately depicting the seascape in turmoil and the hope of the survivors. With texts taken from a variety of eastern and western faith traditions, as well as the work contemporary poets, Lau asks the listener to accompany her on a journey in search of truth and beauty in the aftermath of a tragedy.'
According to Smith, “The sinking of our honeymoon cruise ship was just the first step on a much bigger spiritual journey. Now we’re finally ready to share that journey with the rest of the world, through stories and songs.”
Release date for the book and album is Sunday, January 13, the one year anniversary of the ship wreck. Both book and album will be available via regular retail channels including Amazon, Amazon Kindle, iTunes, CD Baby, The Nook Store and they expect to distribute to bookstores and music shops as well.
Visit Emily Lau at her website.
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