AO Music – Kutumba


AO Music continues its twenty-year reputation for a unique, hybrid approach to World Music, and top-shelf production standards with Kutumba, the group’s sixth studio album. Work on Kutumba began in late 2018 when founding band member Richard Gannaway traveled 6,000 miles from his hometown in Asheville, North Carolina to Abakan, Siberia, to record The Zvony Folk Children’s Ensemble for the track “Nashu”. The trip, coordinated by longtime collaborator, Siberian multi-instrumentalist and composer Nadishana, was such a success that “Nashu” earned its place as the opening track.

Press release by Abbey Wood Records/Lazz Promotions

The journey continued in 2019 with Gannaway traveling to Bangalore, India, home of composer and AO band member Sandeep Chowta, where together, they recorded virtuoso Indian artists Varijashree and Smitha H. M. at Chowta’s Bangalore studio. Kutumba includes several guest artists from around the globe, and voices from Russia, India, and USA. Track 2, “Little Watchers” is graced with a performance on cajon by renowned jazz drummer Dave Weckl.

Produced by Richard Gannaway and Sandeep Chowta, Kutumba marks a milestone for the group in that it signifies the greatest contribution by Chowta to an AO Music release to date. South African-born band member Miriam Stockley (the voice of Karl Jenkins’ Adiemus project, and an acclaimed solo artist in her own right) goes back to her African roots on “Somelele” and “Open the Sky”, singing in Swahili. Founding band member Jay Oliver makes his mark on the title track “Kutumba”, incorporating his well-established rhythmic brilliance.

Inspired by the group’s global commonwealth of artists, and all life being synonymous with the term family, AO Music chose to name the album Kutumba, a Sanskrit word for “family”. Kutumba is a call for recognition of ourselves in each other, and for deep solace in the hearth of that connection.

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