BRADES – The current musical director of the Montserrat National Choir has set himself an ambitious challenge by having the three sections perform and record music from the 80s.
Cris van Beuren is the third music teacher who is being sponsored by the Montserrat Foundation UK Music Programme to come to the island and work with the island’s youth.
This will be the first musical CD for the choir which has a junior, teen and adult section. “I decided that the best theme to suit this would be to choose a selection of 80s hit songs that were recorded in AIR Studios Montserrat and rearrange them with the choir members,” van Beuren explains on his blog.
“AIR Studios forms an important part of recent Montserrat history. During 10 years it was one of the world’s most important studios and was host to many famous recording artists such as: Paul McCartney, Rolling Stones, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Dire Straits, The Police, Sting, Eric Clapton, Earth Wind & Fire, Simply Red, Boy George, Duran Duran, among several others. A number of world-known hit songs were recorded here including: Every Breath You Take (The Police), I’m Still Standing (Elton John), Walk of Life (Dire Straits), Fragile (Sting) to name a few.
“Montserrat’s own local music culture scene was impacted by the visits of all these artists. Late night jams between local artists and visiting artists used to happen frequently in nearby bars. It was surely a very vibrant place musically. In 1989, Hurricane Hugo hit the island and caused a lot of devastation, including damage to AIR Studios which led to its shutting down. Just over five years later the Soufriere volcano started erupting and continued eruptions for the following 10 years.
“Choosing a selection of these AIR Studios hit songs, arranging and recording them with the National Youth Choir is our way of paying tribute to that great time lived in Montserrat’s history and of showing how musical culture is still alive and regaining itself on the island,” the musician said.
Sessions have already been recorded at the Montserrat Cultural Centre and at Raw Island Music, a local studio. Post-production will be done with musician and friend of Montserrat Peter Filleul in London, UK. Peter Filleul was lucky to be in the first band that ever recorded in AIR Studios, Climax Blues Band, in 1979. He has continued his ties with Montserrat visiting the island every year and helping in the arts and culture.
The National Choir, formed in 2013, is coordinated through the Department of Youth Affairs and is regularly invited to perform at various community events.
Check out more updates and videos on his blog at http://www.crisvanbeuren.com/