Aomusic performance at the
Habba Festival, Bangalore, India - Dec. 2004
|Also known as||AO, AO Music|
|Genres||World music, World beat, Ethnic fusion, World fusion, Afro beat, New age music, Acoustic music|
AOMUSIC, (also known as, AO) is a pan-cultural world/new age musical group, known for an exotic blend of ethnic texture, rhythmic energy and ambient harmony. Their compositions feature melodic refrains sung by Miriam Stockley (the voice of Karl Jenkins' Adiemus project) and children’s choral ensembles from around the globe. Song lyrics are often a mixture of ancient languages or made-up phonetics, so as not to pay allegiance to a particular ethnicity; thereby lending to a more universal impression. Each song is composed, produced and performed by three veteran recording artists; founder Richard Gannaway, Miriam Stockley and Jay Oliver. The group self-produces albums on their own indie label Arcturian Gate (established in 1994). They produce the sound using a blend of live acoustic instruments and digital samples that cover a broad range of world indigeny mixed with contemporary elements.
Formation and History
In 1996 Richard Gannaway (stringed instruments, vocals) of Tiger & the Helix invited music colleague Jay Oliver (synths, samples, keyboards) to help him produce a hybrid world music sound, involving an international choir of children. Oliver's credits include: Dave Weckl Band, Sheryl Crow, The Eagles, Jimmy Buffett, Wynona Judd, Glenn Frey, Peabo Bryson and Chick Corea. The two began to reconstruct Gannaway's song compositions using indigenous textures from an ethnic instrument sample library. These sessions culminated in the first Aomusic album "Grow Wild", released in 2000 on Arcturian Gate and promoted on NPR radio across North America.
In 2001 Gannaway and Oliver moved to Carlsbad, California to begin production of the second Aomusic album "Twirl". That year the group traveled to Indonesia where they studied the Gamelan music tradition. They were also invited to China by CRC (the China Record Corporation) and introduced to the Beijing Olympic Committee who asked the group to compose theme music for the 2008 Summer Games. They enlisted Miriam Stockley to sing the chorus of "On Jai Ya" along with Beijing's renowned CRC Children's Choir which is how Stockley became involved with Aomusic. Gannaway and Oliver were influenced by her work on Karl Jenkins' "Adiemus" album "Songs of Sanctuary" while she was still living in the UK. Stockley has also worked with Tina Turner, Chaka Khan, George Michael, Freddie Mercury, Deniece Williams, Mike Oldfield, Brian May and David Arkenstone. She is heard in several feature film soundtracks, including "The Lord of the Rings".
In 2004 they were invited to Mumbai to work with Bollywood film score composer Sandeep Chowta, who brought a wealth of musical resources to the group from that region. Chowta also joined Aomusic as a contributing producer. Their trips throughout Asia over the course of four years brought a new depth of influence to the group's sound, and in late 2004 they performed the first live Aomusic concert at the Habba Festival in Bangalore, India.
Ultimately, the Aomusic song ("On Jai Ya") was not used as the official 2008 Olympic theme piece, and later selected as a soundtrack for the 2011 promotional trailer Project Peace on Earth. The song was released Feb 17, 2009 to an international audience on the group's second album "Twirl" which was well received by a broader fan base with Stockley as a core member of the group. "Twirl" debuted on international music charts at #5.
On Feb. 15, 2011 Aomusic released their third album "...and Love Rages on!" on Arcturian Gate, which features children's choral ensembles from Beijing, Tbilisi, Johannesburg, Asheville and Orlando. The album charted at #2 internationally in its genre and was awarded Zone Music Reporter's "Best World Album of 2011".
With the release of "...and Love Rages on!", Aomusic aligned with one of the many charities under the FirstGiving / GlobalGiving umbrellas. The FirstGiving / Aomusic alliance is specifically organized to build sustainable villages for the children of Haiti, who were displaced by an earthquake in 2010, and represents the first association of its kind for Aomusic's non-profit affiliate AO Foundation International.
In March 2013 the group released their fourth album "Hokulea" which charted #3 internationally and sustained top 20 ranking (Zone Music Reporter) for five consecutive months. With the release of "Hokulea" Aomusic officially established themselves as 100% non-profit through AO Foundation International, which contributes to several organizations that attend to disadvantaged and impoverished children worldwide. 
- Richard Gannaway (vocals, stringed instruments, production)
- Miriam Stockley (vocalese)
- Jay Oliver (keyboards, synths, samples, production)
Regular Contributing Artists:
- Sandeep Chowta (music production)
- Rod Houison (music production)
- Andy Georges (stringed instruments)
- George Bernardo (drums and percussion)
- Doug Lunn (Bass)
- CRC Children's Choir (Beijing, Peoples Republic of China)
- William Joseph International Academy for Performing Arts (Bangalore, India)
- Martve Boy's Choir (Tbilisi, People's Republic of Georgia)
- Bishop Bavin St. George's Children's Choir (Johannesburg, South Africa)
- Cór na nÓg Conamara (Conamara Children's Choir - Connemara, Ireland)
- Shree Little Star Boarding School Choir (Kathmandu, Nepal)
- Nawa Asha Griha Orphanage Choir (Chitwan, Nepal)
- Chorus of Light (Orlando, Florida)
- Rainbow Mountain Children's School (Asheville, North Carolina)
- Vladiswar Nadishana (Siberia)-Multi-instrumentalist
- Neha Kakkar (Mumbai, India)-vocals
- Sonu Kakkar (Mumbai, India)-vocals
- Kimba Arem (Boulder, Colorado)-didgeridoo
- Ashwin Srinivasan (Mumbai, India)-Indian bamboo flute
- Michael "Piper" Cooney (Tipperary, Ireland)-Irish pipes and whistles
- Peter Mayer (Nashville, Tennessee)-acoustic guitar
- Emily Tessmer (Truckee, California)-vocals
- Mark Zumberg "Zoom" (St. Petersburg, Florida)-vocals
- Seth Alexander (Watchung, New Jersey)-vocals
- John Higgins (St. Louis, Missouri)-mandolin
- Susan Craig Winsberg (Los Angeles, California)-steel flute
- Miari Peterson (Los Angeles, CA) - backing vocals
- Claudia Cummings (Los Angeles, CA) - backing vocals
- Katy Hill (St. Louis, MO) - backing vocals
- Cayla Clark (St. Louis, MO) - spoken word
- Mary Jo Clark (St. Louis, MO) - Irish dance hard-shoe taps/choreography
- Billboard artist page
- Publicity Wire news article
- AllMusic artist credits-Jay Oliver
- AllMusic artist-Aomusic
- AllMusic artist album-"Grow Wild"
- PR Web news article
- SoundOnSound news article
- AllMusic artist credits-Miriam Stockley
- PPOE 2011 promotional trailer
- AllMusic artist album-"Twirl"
- Zone Music Reporter Charts Top 100 February 2009-"Twirl"
- Zone Music Reporter Charts Top 100 March 2009-"Twirl"
- Record label announcement-Aomusic & GKTW
- AllMusic artist album-"...and Love Rages On!"
- Zone Music Reporter Charts Top 100 August 2011-"...and Love Rages On!"
- 2011 ZMR Music Award Winners
- Release Wire news article
- PRweb news article
- ZMR Top 10 for April 2013
- AllMusic artist album-"Hokulea"
- Official website
- Record label website
- AO Foundation International
- Miriam Stockley website
- Richard Gannaway website
- Jay Oliver website
- Sandeep Chowta website
- Discogs listing