Aomusic performance at the
Habba Festival, Bangalore, India – Dec. 2004
|Also known as||AO, AO Music|
|Genres||World, worldbeat, ethnic fusion, world fusion, Afrobeat, new age, acoustic|
Aomusic (common pseudonyms AO Music, 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 and children's choral ensembles from around the globe. Song lyrics are a hybrid mixture of English, ancient languages and made-up phonetics, with no allegiance to a particular ethnicity, thereby lending to a more universal impression. The three core members are founder Richard Gannaway, Miriam Stockley and Jay Oliver, augmented by an international cast of contributing artists. The group records on their own indie label Arcturian Gate using a blend of live acoustic instruments and digital samples that cover a broad range of world indigeny mixed with contemporary elements. With the release of "Hokulea" in 2013 Aomusic officially established themselves as 100% non-profit through AO Foundation International, supporting several charitable organizations for disadvantaged children worldwide. Aomusic members Oliver and Stockley have previously worked with and are credited in the works of Sheryl Crow, The Eagles, Peabo Bryson, Chick Corea, the Dave Weckl Band, Tina Turner, Jimmy Buffett, Wynona Judd, Glenn Frey, Chaka Khan, George Michael, Freddie Mercury, Deniece Williams, Mike Oldfield, Brian May, David Arkenstone and "The Lord of the Rings.
Formation and history
In 1996 Richard Gannaway (stringed instruments, vocals) of Tiger & the Helix invited pop-jazz keyboardist Jay Oliver of the Dave Weckl Band to help him produce a hybrid world music sound involving an international choir of children. The two began to construct song material using textures from a diverse 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 the group traveled throughout Southeast Asia and caught the attention of the Beijing Olympic Committee who asked them to compose theme music for the 2008 Summer Olympics. For that purpose Gannaway and Oliver enlisted Miriam Stockley of Karl Jenkins multi-platinum "Adiemus" project 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.
In 2004 Bollywood film score composer Sandeep Chowta of Mumbai joined Aomusic as a contributing producer, bringing fresh resources to the group. Chowta also arranged the first live Aomusic concert at the Habba Festival in Bangalore, India in 2004.
In 2008 the Aomusic song ("On Jai Ya") was not selected as the official 2008 Olympic theme piece and was released in 2009 to an international audience on the group's second album "Twirl". With Miriam Stockley as a core member of the group, they became exposed to a broader fanbase. "Twirl" debuted on Zone Music Reporter's album charts at No. 5.
In Feb 2011 Aomusic released their third album "...and Love Rages on!" on Arcturian Gate, featuring children's choral ensembles from Beijing, Tbilisi, Johannesburg, Asheville and Orlando. The album charted at No. 2 internationally and was awarded Zone Music Reporter's "Best World Album of 2011".
With the release of "...and Love Rages on!" Aomusic aligned with FirstGiving of the GlobalGiving charitable network to build sustainable villages for the children of Haiti displaced by a 2010 earthquake. The "AO 4 Haiiti" campaign represented the first association of its kind for the group's non-profit affiliate AO Foundation International.
- Richard Gannaway (vocals, stringed instruments, production)
- Miriam Stockley (vocalese)
- Jay Oliver (keyboards, synths, samples, production)
Regular Contributing Artists:
- Sandeep Chowta (music production)
- Andy Georges (stringed instruments)
- George Bernardo (drums and percussion)
- Doug Lunn (Bass)
- Rod Houison (music engineering)
- 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
- PRweb news article
- AllMusic artist credits-Jay Oliver
- AllMusic artist-Aomusic
- AllMusic artist credits-Miriam Stockley
- AllMusic artist album-"Grow Wild"
- PR Web news article
- SoundOnSound news article
- 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
- 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