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 employ 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 typically sung in 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 well established 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) approached his friend Jay Oliver (synths, samples, keyboards) to co-produce a world music sound that was more universal and inclusive than what was known at the time, involving an international choir of children. At the time Gannaway had been touring as leader of the rock project Tiger & the Helix and Oliver was touring as a jazz fusion artist with the Dave Weckl Band. Oliver's credits also include: 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 their second Aomusic album "Twirl". During 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. That same year 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 impressed with 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.
In 2006 Miriam Stockley officially joined Aomusic and began co-composing with Gannaway and Oliver.
The Aomusic song ("On Jai Ya") was selected as a soundtrack for the 2011 promotional trailer Project Peace on Earth. It 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.
In June 2009 Gannaway, Stockley and Oliver composed and produced the song "Gaiya Lo Mane" as theme music for the Give Kids the World Foundation.
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.