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SHE may not be stepping out with the stars at next month's Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, but Maureen Freemantle will be watching the music business' biggest show expectantly from her home in Steer Town, St Ann.

Freemantle, 67, is a member of Wingless Angels, the group of Rastafarian chanters whose self-titled album is one of five nominees in the Best Boxed Set or Special Edition Package category.

"It would be a good thing if wi win. I would feel proud for the group an' mi grandchildren," Freemantle told the Observer from her Steer Town home.

Wingless Angels was produced by Rolling Stone guitarist Keith Richards, who owns a holiday home in St Ann. The group was led by reggae pioneer Justin Hinds (of Carry Go Bring Come fame), who died from cancer in 2005.

Richards first met Hinds (who was Freemantle's cousin) during the early 1970s when the former was a regular visitor to Jamaica. They not only formed a personal friendship but collaborated on a series of traditional Nyabinghi songs which Richards not only produced, but played guitar and bass.

Nine of those songs were released in September 2010 and have been nominated for a Grammy. In addition to Freemantle and Hinds, the other members of Wingless Angels are Warren Williamson, Milton Beckford and Locksley Whitelock who is also deceased.

Freemantle, whose son is singer Chuckleberry, became a member of Wingless Angels in 1980. She said she met Richards while the legendary 'axeman' was having a drink with Whitelock in a Steer Town bar.

"I sang a tune an' he (Richards) liked it an' said I should come up to his house the next day," Freemantle recalled.

Richards' sessions with the 'Angels' produced a number of songs including Love, Love, Love the impromptu number Freemantle did when she first met him. Their first album was distributed by Richards' Mindless label in 1997, but it would be another 13 years before the follow-up release.

Though she sang in the church as a child, Freemantle had no prior recording experience. She is a dressmaker who also made and sold craft items for over 30 years in the Mammee Bay region of St Ann.

Freemantle says she has had no contact with Richards for over 10 years.

According to her, 'him nuh treat wi good', but acknowledged the importance of winning a Grammy Award.

"Wi know wi do something good, so getting something for it woulda mek mi happy," she said.

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