Videos: Bermudian Jo-1 Shines Internationally

December 15, 2018

[Written by Patrick Bean]

No stranger to stage, video, or fame, Bermudian performing artist Joanne Ball-Burgess continues to enliven all genres with her eclectic mix of music, dance, and dramatic foreplay beyond the island shores of her birth toward the international arena from her new base of operations in Kenya.

Also affectionately known as Jo-1, the Bermudian woman is distinguishing herself as a real talent in the music industry, with many of her efforts receiving critical national and international acclaim, while also producing and procuring natural health products and remedies for retail sale and exporting many of these to Bermuda.

Ms. Ball-Burgess has risen to recognition particularly in and around Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, a nation of 48 million people which has its lead city as a major export market and a big player in the East African Community, with great links to the European Economic Community.

The Bermudian woman, along with her husband and three sons, migrated to the region to further experience ancestral heritage and culture as well as exploring and expressing her talents to a wider audience and influence.

Her most recent video production ‘Body Drop’ has proved to be a smashing success and shows her off in a free-flowing manner in a means to honour and reflect soca legend Alison Hinds.

Ms. Ball-Burgess as Jo-1 rose to initial notoriety through the East African dance show Sakata, an intriguing and explosive musical/dance stage production in the vein of the short-lived reality programme on American television called ‘America’s Best Dance Group’, a contest to ascertain the best group out of a number appearing on stage.

Ms. Ball-Burgess was involved with the show ‘Staccata’ with one of Kenya’s premier producers for three years, being involved in choreography, dance and musical aspects.

“I did three seasons with him in Staccata and we did salsa, reggae, African drum beats even zumba,” she explained in an earlier interview. “We did a choreography there and it was really beautiful, everyone from the production on down were all dancers and that really made it come together in a beautiful way.”

Ms. Joanne Ball-Burgess arrived on the African continent as no stranger to the music industry, having long participated in many manners of performing arts in Bermuda – song, dance, song writing and choreography are a few of her talents and experiences.

She is known locally for her authoring and production of books ‘The Lizard and the Rock’ and ‘Precious Hog Penny’.

The move to Kenya also presents an opportunity to live closer to the ‘natural state of being’ in terms of self-sustainment through planting, harvesting, production, barter and sale of agricultural products from a place with established export ties.

Kenya’s economy is the largest in eastern and central Africa, with Nairobi serving as a major regional commercial hub. Agriculture is the largest sector; tea and coffee are traditional cash crops, while fresh flowers are a fast-growing export.

The service industry is also a major economic driver, particularly tourism. Kenya is a member of the East African Community trade bloc, though some international trade organisations categorise it as part of the Greater Horn of Africa. Africa is Kenya’s largest export market, followed by the European Union.

All of this adds up to great potential and avenues to engage with another passion, that being agriculture and horticulture, with Kenya very abundant in natural plant products. The mother and son have become very involved in the growing of the various organic, healing plants for positive health and nutrition.

However, Ms. Ball-Burgess loves to sing and dance and she has blossomed into a diverse talent able to infuse many music genres and styles to harmonic melodies of sound are all fair game for Ball-Burgess, her preference being only that if it sounds good, play it – salsa, reggae, African drum beats, and even zumba are often incorporated into her sounds beyond the traditional western fare.

“I’ve always sang and I’ve always danced, I’ve always written music, everybody knows The Lizard and the Rock and The Precious Hog Penny,” said the woman. “What’s happened here in Kenya is that I’ve been able to fuse all those aspects together. I’ve been able to explore different styles.”

“I’ve been able to expand and explore more different genres of music and ride the edges and be a bit more edgy. Kenya is a huge country, with connection to East Africa as well as Uganda and Tanzania, which have booming music industries and I have good contacts in Nigeria and Ghana, so I’ve really had opportunity to expand, explore and enjoy my craft and make it more creative.”

She further explained that in Africa, many do use music as a metaphor about the body in its movement being as matching musical notes in harmonic flow.

The performer said that she had many projects in the works and was enjoying the offerings of Kenya to her and her family in expanding their experience and opportunities.

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  1. Ladeej says:

    Congrats Ms Ball-Burgess! The idea was great and the interview was interesting. You are doing big things in Kenya!