Meet Jahawi Bertolli. He's a filmmaker, photographer, and music producer from Kenya who specializes in wildlife and the underwater world, striving to portray the beauty, power, and vulnerability of wild environments.
His work has taken him across Kenya, from the remote northern coast to the Masai Mara National Reserve — as well as to distant corners of the globe, like Myanmar and the Galapagos Islands. Bertolli has worked with the United Nations Environment Programme, safariLIVE, CORDIO, and SVT Sweden. He has also had showings of his work at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C., and U.N. headquarters in New York City.
Before becoming a photographer, Bertolli worked in the music industry — he's an accomplished music producer with releases and remixes on international record labels.
In 2018, he stumbled upon an ancient rock gong in the central Serengeti, which reignited his musical curiosity, and the First Rock project was born. He is working on recording ancient African rock gongs, along with the voices and instruments of the tribes who live close to them, to create contemporary music that highlights the ingenuity and complexity of ancient Homo sapiens.
Premiering March 26, Bertolli will appear in Planet Defenders, a new BBC six-part series that follows young filmmakers as they discover more about the threats faced by endangered animals and wildlife — and, what can be done to conserve and protect them. Join him on a journey to meet the Kinyika dolphins and see what he's doing to help their survival. Working with the Kenyan Marine Mammal Network, Bertolli is hoping to get the area protected as a marine reserve before it's too late.
Bertolli is also currently establishing the East African Ocean Explorers Club, which aims to inspire a new generation of Kenyan ocean explorers who will champion marine conservation.