A2O: Jamaica's hostest singing group - (producing by Soul Vendors band)
The death of Studio One founder, and Jamaican musical pioneer, Clement 'Sir' Coxsone Dodd, has left a chasm in the musical fraternity that may never be filled.
But while we mourn the loss of arguably our most influential musical figure, a group of youngsters are now getting the opportunity of a lifetime to perpetuate the Studio One legacy.
A20, a talented quartet, comprising Westmoreland-born Angel Smith, Rayon Obie, Dennis (wess) Rose and Kenneth (jr) Lorney, has struck gold of sorts through two legends of Studio One,
who were instrumental in creating the inimitable sound that remains an integral part of the Jamaican musical landscape.
With the influence of popular reggae singer, Jack Radics, the talented quartet got lucky a few months back when they were introduced to famed Studio One musicians, Brian Atkinson (bass)
and Joe Isaacs (drums). Popularly known as the Soul Vendors, both Isaacs and Atkinson have now drafted Winston (Boo-pee) Bowen and Ervin (Alla) Lloyd, former members of Chalice into the group.
They are the producers of A2O.
Renowned for creating the music for hits like: Queen Of The Minstrels, I've Got To Go Back Home, Fatty Fatty, I'm Still In Love With You, and the Train Is Coming Baby, the Soul Venders clearly
have an ear for great, quality music.
That these veterans saw it fit to take a fledgling group of youngsters under their wings speak volumes and is testimony to A2O's vast potential and appeal.
This liaison has already produced two songs - Come On Over and Get Along Without You Now - showcases the unique blend and wide range that reminds some people of famed American group, Boyz 11 Men.
At a time when there seems to be paucity in the quality of lyrics emanating from the reggae genre, A2O's strength lies in their potent lyrics that boast a fine mix of love and Jamaican culture.
These assets obviously attracted the Shamar Entertainments outfit, run by Marlon Burke, which recently signed this promising group to a recording contract.
A2O will have its first touch of international exposure in August, 2004 when they perform as the opening act for established Jamaican artiste like Jack Radics, the Clarendonians, Eric Monty Morris,
Larry Marshall, Winston Samuels and Dudley Sibley in the USA, England and a few other European countries, on the
upcoming Soul Vendors tour.
Obie, the leader of the group, also has the distinction of being its founder along with Angel.
The two came together during their teenage years and performed in and around the Westmoreland area as a duo.
Later Andrew McFarlane joined the group and the name "Q.P.R" was adopted as their name. After a few months performing under this name, and doing various engagements across the country, Dennis (wess)
was now added to the group, which became known as ANGELS.
In approximately 12 months while performing various engagements, Junior was added to the group, and at that time, the name was changed again to ANGEL BOYS. At this juncture, they were introduced
to a producer from overseas, Ingrid Brown, who was interested in managing the group.
They then moved to Kingston and shortly thereafter, their name was finally changed to "A2O" and Mack left the group.
A2O has already started growing up. They are being nurtured by experienced veterans, the Soul Vendors, whose guidance will be instrumental in ensuring their success. For this talented young
Jamaican group, the sky is indeed the limit.