National Geographic Explorer |iLCP Associate Fellow | CBBC Planet Defender
Jahawi Bertolli is an award winning film maker, photographer, TV presenter, narrator and music producer from Kenya specialising in wildlife and the underwater world.
Growing up in Kenya, spending a lot of time both on the beach or out in the bush, Jahawi nurtured a deep curiosity and love for the natural world and strives to portray the beauty, power and vulnerability of wild environments through his work. The main themes of his work being environmental, marine and shark conservation.
In 2019 Jahawi was awarded a Vulcan Visiting World Filmaker Scholarship for the Jackson Wild Summit and was also the co-host of the annual Grand Teton Awards. In 2020 his short film ‘Bahari Yetu’ was selected as a Finalist for the Jackson Wild Media Awards in the Global Voices category, was on the Official Selection at the 2021 International Wildlife Film Festival and won the Howard Hall Award of Excellence in the Visions of the Sea Category at the 2021 Ocean Geographic Society Picture of the Year Competition. His previous films and photography have been displayed in the Smithsonian Museum of National History in Washington D.C and the UN Headquarters in New York. Jahawi is also a CBBC Planet Defender, presenting in a new hallmark series on CBBC made by the BBC Natural History Unit and was the Co-host of the Ecoflix series “The Pulse” and for the PBS YouTube series ‘In Our Nature’.”
Jahawi has worked extensively in the Masai Mara, filming and also as a photographic guide, and has also filmed documentaries from the remote northern coast of Kenya to Myanmar and the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador. He mainly works as a freelance cameraman and has worked with the National Geographic Society, BBC Natural History Unit, UNEP, SafariLive, CORDIO East Africa and SVT Sweden.
While a lot of his work is done scuba diving, he is also an experienced wildlife cameraman having grown up in the African bush and to top it all off Jahawi is also a record setting free diver.
Alongside working as a cameraman Jahawi is also an accomplished music producer and score composer with a string of releases and remixes on well know record labels, such as ULTRA Records (USA), KOSMO Records (Germany), Solaris Recordings (UK) and Fatboy Slim's Southern Fried Records (UK); with whom he was also an A&R assistant for some time.
In June 2018 he stumbled upon an ancient rock gong in the central Serengeti and this re-ignited his musical curiosity and so the First Rock was born. He has been 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 also highlights the ingenuity and complexity of ancient homo sapiens.
Jahawi scores the music on his own personal projects and has composed music for the Professional Association of Dive Instructors (PADI), the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), The East African Safari Rally and the World Agroforestry Institute (ICRAF) to name a few.
Along with his wife, Elke, they reside in Kenya are currently setting up the East African Ocean Explorers Club which aims to inspire a new generation of Kenyan Ocean Explorers who will champion marine conservation and and act as an inspiration to young people in their local communities. The aim is to provide a platform for passionate people to be able to explore and learn more about the ocean; providing workshops, educational films and time in the ocean for young students and scientists from coastal communities to be able to take get in the ocean; whether it be learning how to snorkel, taking a diving course or providing a platform for scientific research.