Official Site of IONA!

Official Site of Iona! Welcome to the official home of the UK-based band IONA, and OPEN SKY RECORDS. Here you will find the most definitive and authoritative guide to all things Iona along with all the latest news on albums releases from Open Sky Records. Whilst Iona are not currently touring or recording as a band, the individual members are still busy with various musical projects. So do join the mailing list and keep checking the store for both Iona and solo releases and more besides!

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Latest News

22nd May 2019

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19th May 2019

BACK TO MY ROOTS!
Here at Kells, Co. Meath, Ireland! Spiritual heart of Ireland. House of St. Colmkille, Book of Kells...
Seems such a long way from Blue Coast Records , California!
Speaking of which , here’s a link to 3 of my songs, remixed by BCRs Cookie Marenco. You can have a listen here , and if you enjoy, can download from BCR.😁


Oops! Forgot to add the link on my first post 😳

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19th May 2019

BACK TO MY ROOTS!....
Here in Kells, Co. Meath, spiritual heart of Ireland. House of St Colmkille, Book of Kells...
Seems a long way from Blue Coast Records, California!
Speaking of which , here’s a link to 3 of my songs , remixed by BCRs Cookie Marenco. You can have a listen here, and if you enjoy, can purchase the download from BCR 😁

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16th May 2019

HOME .....It’s Jo here, and I’m wondering if my recording whirlwind in California was a dream😳 And enjoying the fact that it’s warmer and sunnier here than it was in San Francisco Bay ..... in my dream?

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18th May 2019

JOB DONE😁
Three days , three albums!
Ya can get a lot done when it’s just piano and vocal and no “drop-ins” or edits!
Album 1. 9 Jo Hogg songs plus a cover of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah ( only 4 of the original 80 verses!) , all sung in French

Album 2. 9 Jo Hogg songs sung in English

Album 3. Solo piano tracks of all the songs plus some improvised solo piano
Blue Coast Records will release the albums in DSD( direct stream digital), and all will be available for download direct from joannehoggmusic ...( not sure when🤔)
Home tomorrow 😁

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10th May 2019

IS THIS REALLY CALIFORNIA??

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18th May 2019

SONGS IN FRENCH??
Did she really say that? 😳

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8th May 2019

ACROSS THE POND....! 😎

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1st April 2019

FROM THIS TO HOME.....
It’s a stark contrast , that’s for sure. Sunny conditions made our job easier and life a little less harsh for those living in Moria, but there were many tragic stories being lived out in our midst. I saw a family and group of friends carry the dead body of a woman out of the camp on one of the days, and that week, volunteers tried to console a family who had lost a child , one of twins, while making the treacherous boat crossing from Turkey. Hundreds still make the terrifying journey every week. People back home often ask me why they leave their country to end up somewhere as awful as most of the camps. When you hear their stories, it’s not hard to understand why. Even though conditions are desperate in the camp, many folk that I met were so grateful to have survived, and cling to the hope that they might have a chance to start a new life somewhere. But while they are in limbo , EuroRelief will continue to do the best they can to support and care for them , and we will continue to support their passionate efforts.

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25th March 2019

SUNSHINE AND SMILES....
No matter how many times I come here, it’s always quite a surreal experience. The resilience of people to cope in such a difficult environment never ceases to amaze me. It looks better in the sunshine, but the reality is still very grim. There are nasty biting insects in the overcrowded tents and isoboxes, large rats are frequent visitors, and chickenpox and scabies is rife. People stand in line several times a day for food, water, info, assistance .... and the camp is on a steep hill so getting around requires great effort, especially for mothers with small children and heavy bottles of water to carry, and for the elderly too. We’ve found a way to turn very large t shirts into carrying bags that folk can make for themselves requiring only a pair of scissors. This has proved very popular with the women who have so many things to carry , including their laundry. So far, we’ve had three days of vitamin distribution and noting other medical needs that we can return to with specific treatments. Finding particular tents in the sprawling mass can be very challenging , even with the tent number and a map!
And then, a few miles down the road, we mingle with the locals and tourists and enjoy the view and feel very thankful for so much.

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24th April 2019

MAP PROJECT PART 2......
Currently working on 6 new songs for Miracles and Parables part 2. Photos are from a recent session tracking drums and bass with my fav dynamic duo, Terl Bryant and Phil Barker. Miracles of healing, deliverance and raising the dead , and Parables about the Kingdom of God , the sower and the seed and the good shepherd. Instrumentation will be in keeping with part 1, so it’ll be drums, bass, cello, piano, guitar and my favourite brass instrument, the flugelhorn.
I’ll keep you posted. 😁 jo.

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25th February 2019

Hi Everyone,
Just to let you know that some of the Iona back catalogue plus my solo albums, are now available from Burning Shed - see

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9th February 2019

ITS BACK TO THE MAP!
So , earlier this week, I went to London to record my favourite dynamic duo, Terl Bryant and Phil Barker ( both known to you Iona friends😁). I’ve been working on some new songs for the MAP Project Part 2. We recorded on three new songs, all parable songs! Good Shepherd, Listen( the story of Jesus talking to a crowd about the sower and the seed), and The Kings Party( one of the parables about the kingdom of heaven).
As always, the dynamic duo did not disappoint 😁.
Will keep you posted on progress.

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14th January 2019

Hi folks, Jo here.

Since my last trip to Moria camp in November, 1000 more refugees with this story, making this journey, arrived in Lesvos in December, needing kindness.

All the proceeds from the Road From Ruin CD go to support the R.A.I.N fund (Refugee Aid International Network) Click Here:

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2nd January 2019

Jo here,

To finish off the year, I thought I’d share the Horse and Rider video with you, in memory of Esmerado, my special white horse, featured in the artwork of Iona’s Another Realm, and this year in the artwork of The MAP Project.

The song, from Uncountable Stars, was remixed earlier this year to get a more panoramic sound for the videos use in an exhibition in Japan, so here it is..... the updated version of Horse and Rider, featuring Esmerado.

And finally, I’d like to wish you a very happy and blessed 2019.

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30th December 2018

Hi, Jo here. Thought you might enjoy this.... a wee clip from an evening of trad music with family and local friends at Christmas. I think it’ll be a Festive tradition for years to come 😁🎶

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26th December 2018

A gift for this season - FREE DOWLOAD
Christmas songs (in Dutch!) featuring Iona's Frank van Essen, Dave Bainbridge and Troy Donockley

Yesterday, Marlou & I sang on the marketsquare of our hometown, Hardenberg. Beautiful (Dutch) songs from our Christmas CD Immanuël. It was cold & wet, but we were so moved by the depth of the lyrics, the melodies & the arrangements I did 16 years ago now.
They are still powerful testimonies of Gods love for His people, and some of the arrangements are still favourites of mine, too.

Marlou & I decided to make them available for free this Christmas for you to enjoy. With a little extra: I found all the original mixes in my archives, and remastered them up to today's standards. Everything now sounds so much more open, warm & beautiful. Very happy!

So please feel free to listen and download the music.
And we wish you every blessing for the coming days & the new year. May the love & shalom of King Yeshua be with you always.

Feel free to share and spread the word!

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24th December 2018

A Special message from Frank van Essen.

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4th December 2018

Healing Stories From Lesvos

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19th November 2018

18+ years after the Iona recording of this wonderful tune, I decided to record a new, improvised version with Dave Bainbridge. Listen to the full version at and enjoy SANCTUM

The melody of A Million Stars has been with me since my teens. It's one of those tunes that just "happened" one day while improvising on my own, and has never left me. One day I played it for Dave & Troy and they loved it, so that's how it ended up on the Iona album Open Sky. It's great to hear how the years have shaped the melody and both Dave's and my playing. The version on SANCTUM is as we improvised it in the studio, with a few minor edits, but it's very spontaneous and inspired. Hope you enjoy it. - Frank

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13th November 2018

Frank van Essen's SANCTUM is out now! Very excited to share it with you. With Dave Bainbridge, Troy Donockley and bass legend Jimmy Johnson, this is an album you don´t want to miss! Check it out on - and please share!

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26th October 2018

A small preview of Frank van Essen's S A N C T U M. The downloadable version will be available on the 25th via

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26th October 2018

10/25/2018

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19th October 2018

BACK IN THE STUDIO......
Well, the 3 Peaks in 1 day was completed and I’m not sure of the exact total of funds raised, but it was amazing. Thanks so much to all of you who supported us. I hope to be returning to the camp on Lesbos next month so I’ll keep you posted on that. In the meantime, I’m trying to finish the songs for Road From Ruin. They wouldn’t be complete without the lovely Gwyneth playing cello 😁.

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22nd September 2018

Two peaks done. One more plus getting down from number two! Weather has been great 👍

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1st October 2018

Hi folks. The three peaks challenge is looming! Two days away. Yesterday I was back in Copper House studio with mate Stu Reid , working on three new songs for my interlude EP( between MAP Project Parts 1&2). It will have 4 new tracks and I’m going to add 3 from Uncountable Stars , on a similar theme. The new songs have been inspired by some personal accounts of refugee experiences. This will be exclusively a fundraising non profit project.
If you’d like to support the 3 Peaks challenge for charity R.A.I.N ( Refugee Aid International Network) that I continue my involvement with, then you can use the link below.

Thankyou again.
I’ll keep you posted on everything! ⛰🎶
Ps. The picture was taken yesterday as Storm Ali hit our north coast!

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14th September 2018

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30th August 2018

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12th June 2018

A few images from my recent trip to Lesvos island , Greece. There are close to 8000 refugees stuck here. Some have lived through two winters in this place. The sense of despair is so real and some surveys have revealed that one in three people , including children, have witnessed someone commit suicide in these environments. The conditions are difficult to convey and their experiences impossible to imagine. On this trip , we discovered several Christian voluntary groups doing incredible work to try and alleviate the suffering, but resources are scarce and the numbers continue to increase. A thousand more refugees, mostly Syrian arrived on the island in April, the same in May..... and so it goes on. A team of us will return in two weeks though this time , I’m unable to go. I’m planning another hiking adventure in a couple of months to fundraise but I will give details nearer the time. Please continue to prayerfully remember these folk , refugees and volunteers.

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12th June 2018

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