Joanne Hogg

Joanne's Gear Page > Co-founder, songwriter, musician Iona / 1989-present
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Photos by Lutz Diehl, Henk Oosting (henkoosting.com), Mike Anders, Monica Duffels, Paul Heffer, Dave Bainbridge & Joop van der Elst
J oanne was born in Ballymena, Northern Ireland shortly after her parents returned from India where they had worked as missionaries for 13 years. She has 5 siblings, all health care professionals and all with musical tendencies, nurtured in a home environment that was rarely without the sound of music being played or sung. Joanne started piano lessons at the age of 10 and continued for four years until it became difficult to find piano teachers in the rural area where they lived. Her early childhood was lived in the County Antrim town of Randalstown, and for the remainder of her school and university years up until she married in 1985, the town of Magherafelt, County Derry, was her home.

Joanne began attending Queen's University Belfast to study medicine in 1981. After her third year at Queen's, she received information through the post about a summer music and arts event in DeBron, Holland called Christian Artists which she thought would be an interesting experience, little did she know it was going to change her life! When Joanne arrived in Holland, she discovered that unknown to her, someone had entered her into the talent evaluation session.

At Christian Artists, she came into contact with well known contemporary Christian musician Adrian Snell who encouraged her and asked her to send him a demo tape which she later did. Joanne was also heard singing at the talent evaluation by a staff worker for Youth For Christ (YFC), Denmark who immediately invited her to work with them for a year doing schools ministry work. Once back in Ireland she persuaded the Dean of the faculty to allow her to take an unconventional "year out" and work with (YFC) in Denmark. During the school term months of September to June, she traveled throughout the country visiting schools and colleges giving solo concerts and talking to students about music, faith, and the cultural aspects of life as a student in the politically charged environment of Northern Ireland. Too much talking and singing resulted in Joanne developing nodules on her vocal chords and the prospect of singing as a career looked highly unlikely.

After returning to Northern Ireland in the summer of 1985, Joanne married Stephen and returned to university to complete her medical degree. In early 1986 Adrian Snell, hugely impressed by the demo Jo had given him months earlier, invited her to record a solo vocal track on his landmark 'Alpha and Omega' project. As a result of her involvement with this, Joanne was introduced to Dave Bainbridge and David Fitzgerald who also met during the recording of the same album. Several months after the release of 'Alpha and Omega' Adrian asked Jo to join the Swiss leg of the 'A & O' tour on which she sang her solo track and also played an opening set of her own songs. Dave and David were also on the tour with Adrian and all got on very well together.

She graduated from university in 1987 and worked as a junior doctor in the Belfast City Hospital to complete her registration. Six months into the job, Joanne became ill and was unable to work for 7 months. She recovered sufficiently to resume her post and completed her registration, but once that was achieved, she took medical advice not to continue in full time work for the remainder of that year. During this period of convalescence, she was contacted by Dave Bainbridge and David Fitzgerald who were beginning to think about the possibility of forming a band. They felt that Joanne, as both a vocalist, musician and writer, would work well with the instrumental duo. In 1989 (the band) began their long history and is now in it's 22nd year.

During this time Joanne has sung with throughout Europe, and in the USA and Japan. The band has just released their seventh studio recording, a double album entitled "Another Realm". They have also produced several live recordings.

Joanne's voice has been featured on many other Christian albums, including several New Irish Hymns recordings (with Clannad's Moya Brennan) and the Celtic Expressions series, and has been heard by millions across the world singing on the soundtrack for a Sony Playstation game called "Xenogears"! She has sung on numerous television broadcasts throughout the past 15 years, including many appearances on BBC's "Songs of Praise" programme. Her most recent TV performance was on BBC Northern Ireland's series entitled "My Wee World" which included contributions from the children of primary schools across the province, including Jo's two boys Isaac and Ethan and their classmates. The song featured on the programme was entitled "Into Your Dreams", from Jo's album "Raphael's Journey" (see later notes).

Joanne's first solo album release was in 1999, entitled "Looking Into Light" (Later re-released as 'Celtic Hymns - Looking into Light'). This project was inspired by a suggestion made by Joanne's father to record an album of hymns. It was only after the sudden death of her mother in February 1997 that she felt the urge to begin working on tracks for the album that would be dedicated to her father. Some of the hymns selected had strong associations with her family's past, while some were chosen for their Celtic melodic qualities as well as their powerful lyrics. Joanne also selected some lesser known hymn lyrics and wrote original melodies to sing them to. The album featured contributions from members of Iona, past and present, from Joanne's three sisters, and also atmospheric sounds recorded in a sea cave in Donegal. The album was beautifully produced by Dave Bainbridge and is currently available as part of a double box set from Kingsway Music.

In 2001, after many years of waiting, Joanne and Stephen had their first child, Isaac. A year and a half later his brother Ethan was born. Busy home life, the death of her father after a prolonged illness, and also major surgery for Joanne meant that the band's activity was restricted during the next few years, although it didn't completely grind to a halt. produced two more excellent albums, "Open Sky" and "The Circling Hour", but things lost momentum for a variety of reasons. Not surprisingly, as a mother, Joanne began considering the idea of recording a lullaby project. After experiencing the early years of parenting however, she came to the conclusion that exhausted, stressed out adults were in greater need of "lullabies" than most kids are. In 2006, Joanne together with Frank Van Essen as producer, began work on a project to create and record music that would convey a sense of peace, beauty and comfort and enable listeners to rest and maybe even to fall asleep. In 2008, "Raphael's Journey" was released as a download only, but was sadly under-promoted with only a few hundred sales. In 2010, CD's of the album were finally manufactured and are now available from Iona's website and at gigs. The profits from this recording will be donated to several organisations that seek to alleviate the suffering of children in extreme poverty.

Also in 2008, Joanne recorded and released an album called "Personal" through Kingsway Music. As the title suggests, the album is a reflective consideration of her own spiritual journey, and is intimate, worshipful and acoustic in style. It was recorded in Nashville in three days and produced by John Hartley and Derri Dogherty. It is very different in style to and shows another side to Joanne as a singer and songwriter. The album features the distinctive drumming and percussion playing of past member Terl Bryant. This album is currently available form Kingsway Music as part of a double box set together with "Looking Into Light" (1999).

Now with a renewed vision, momentum and enthusiasm, Joanne continues to record and tour with and is an active member of Causeway Coast Vineyard church in Coleraine, where she has just completed a 9 month course in their Encounter School of Mission.

Jo has been voted 'Best Female Vocalist' by the 'Classic Rock Society' on three occasions.

Quotes:

"Joanne Hogg is possessed of a beautiful voice somewhere between Maire Brennan and Julianne Regan ... which sends shivers down the spine."
Rock 'n Reel

"Joanne Hogg's voice in particular is spectacular."
Q Magazine

"Hogg's amazing, ethereal voice supported by incredible musicianship carries her gifts without overpowering them ... 'Looking into Light' is a treasure not to be missed."
CCM (USA)

"The unique, angelic and crystal clear voice of Joanne Hogg....possibly without equal among contemporary rock vocalists."
Metal Hammer (Poland)
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News:
Wed, 30 March 2011
Posted by Dave Bainbridge on 30 March 2011 @ 1:17am
In the studio mixing the album - Jo's here lending an ear for a few days and coming up with some great ideas. It's an epic venture! Finished White Horse a few days ago - all 11 minutes of it! Probably the most complex mix I've ever done - phew! Sorry - no time to post any snippets at the moment but maybe soon....Keep those pre-orders ...coming it!

Tue, 8 March 2011
Posted by Dave Bainbridge on 8 March 2011 @ 1:24am
Been working on the epic 'White Horse' in the studio getting it ready to mix - it's a pretty complex track - 10 1/2 minutes long - lots of layers and different sections - currently about 100 individual tracks running! Can my computer cope?!

Thu, 3 February 2011
Posted by Dave Bainbridge on 3 February 2011 @ 1:36am
Today I've been working on the new track Jo and I came up with when she was over recently - it's really sounding good - based on a great 11-8 groove of Frank's. Very pleased with the guitar solo on it.

Tue, 11 January 2011
Posted by Dave Bainbridge on 11 January 2011 @ 1:36am
Great day and a half so far with Jo - highlight was recorded some amazing ad lib vocals on the end section of the epic 'Atmosphere of Miracles' - spine tingling stuff! All the vocals done now - final check through them with Jo tomorrow, some rough mixes to do and looking at a possible running order - and whether it should be a double ...album....

Sun, 24 October 2010
Posted by Dave Bainbridge on 24 October 2010 @ 1:36am
Been working on the new album opening track today - wonderful atmospheres and vocals from Jo. The track is based on a 6th century prophecy by St Columba.

Sat, 16 October 2010
Posted by Dave Bainbridge on 16 October 2010 @ 1:46am
Jo and I had an inspired time writing / recording this past week. Jo wrote some amazingly powerful lyrics for one of the new pieces, we finished writing another piece, did loads of vocal recording - great progress made. Off to The Netherlands on Tuesday to work with Frank for 4 more days on the pieces.

Mon, 11 October 2010
Posted by Dave Bainbridge on 11 October 2010 @ 1:36am
Picking Joanne up from the airport this afternoon for 3 days of writing / recording on the new album at my studio. We'll also have TV producer Tim Finch with us all of tomorrow doing some filming for a possible Iona documentary. it's all go!!

Mon, 16 August 2010
Posted by Dave Bainbridge on 16 August 2010 @ 3:28am
More superb vocals recorded yesterday. Worked on 3 pieces - Another Realm (spectacular lead vocals and very creative vocal layers and arrangement ideas), Ancient Wells (harmony vox and some vocal loops) and 'Foreign Soil' - an old but great song idea of Jo's that we've now finished and demo'ed yesterday with acoustic guitar / vocal.

Mon, 16 August 2010
Posted by Dave Bainbridge on 16 August 2010 @ 3:12am
We have a couple of hours recording to do this morning before Jo gets the plane back to Ireland this afternoon - this has been a great album session!!

Sun, 15 August 2010
Posted by Dave Bainbridge on 15 August 2010 @ 1:41am
Another great day in the studio yesterday - finished recording vocals on 'White Horse' - loads of vocal layers - phew! Came up with a great ending too. Then worked on a piece based on a 6th century prophecy by St Columba. Jo wrote a few new lines of lyrics so that we can bookend the album with this piece. It's very at...


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