VOH seeks wider audience

Howard Campbell

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

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FOR many years, the Voice of Harpers' (VOH) sound was steeped in the Christian message the group learned as members of the Church of God and Saints of Christ in Kingston.

But its latest cast is keen to reach a broader audience by recording secular songs, the latest being Til I See You Again, produced by saxophonist Tony Greene.

Til I See You Again follows the trend of ballads VOH has recorded in recent times. Group leader Marville Williams said the easy-listening Beat of My Heart and Anything For You, which were released last year, hear the group expressing their secular influences which range from Sam Cooke to Boyz II Men and Take 6.

"We started off as acapella but over time we've incorporated other forms into our sound," Williams said. "We all do lead depending on the nature of the song."

Williams, his younger brother Mikhail, Benaudo Hall, Nickoy Shand and Donovan Leon Jnr are the members of VOH. The group has been around for some time, its first edition forming at the Church of God and Saints of Christ during the 1980s.

Over the years, they became known in church circles for their crisp harmonies and were regulars on gospel events like the annual Acafest.

Last year, they made their most adventurous foray into the secular arena by entering the Digicel Rising Stars contest, one of the most popular mediums for budding dancehall artistes.

The group made the entries list with their song, Green Pastures, but failed to make the top 10 finishers. Despite this, Williams said they got a lot of encouragement from the show's insiders.

"I remember people telling us, 'You guys need to get something out'," he recalled.

The music to Till I See You Again was first used on Greene's 2010 album, Midnight Blue. The former Lloyd Parks and We The People Band member said he was sufficiently impressed by VOH's tight harmonies to add their vocals to the track.

Marville Williams says VOH are currently working on three albums. One, which he describes as "hardcore lovers rock", an acoustic and an acapela gospel set.




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