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February 20, 2009

Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Elton John and Sir George Martin Casts on Display

Brades, Montserrat – February 20, 2009 – On January 23, 2009, the Montserrat Cultural Centre unveiled a "Wall of Fame" with bronze hand casts of Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Elton John and Mark Knopfler. The casts signify the 'helping hand' they provided by performing in the Music for Montserrat concert at the Royal Albert Hall on September 15, 1997 after the eruption of the Soufriere Hills Volcano. The concert was organized by legendary producer Sir George Martin, whose connections with Montserrat date back over 30 years. Sir George's handprints also appear on the wall, with percussionist Ray Cooper's hands completing the current line up. The cultural center hopes that the 'Wall of Fame' will soon be extended to include the handprints of other artists who performed at the Music for Montserrat concert. These include Jimmy Buffet, Montserrat's own Alphonsus 'Arrow' Cassell, Eric Clapton, Phil Collins, Dave Hartley, the London Gospel Community Choir, Sting and Ian Thomas.

No stranger to famous musicians, Montserrat was once the home of AIR (Associated Independent Recording) Studios. Opened by former Beatles producer Sir George Martin in 1978, the studio proudly hosted some of the biggest musicians of all time. During the 11 years it was open, artists such as Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder, The Police, The Rolling Stones, Elton John, Eric Clapton, Luther Vandross, Sheena Easton, Earth, Wind & Fire, Jimmy Buffett, Duran Duran and Lou Reed all graced the halls and created sweets sounds enjoyed by many to this day.

Providing state-of-the-art recording equipment in a relaxed Caribbean setting, AIR Studios was the location where albums such as Volcano by Jimmy Buffett, Ghost in the Machine and Synchronicity by The Police, Breaking Hearts and Two Low for Zero by Elton John, Give Me the Reason and Any Love by Luther Vandross, Behind the Sun by Eric Clapton, and Tug of War by Paul McCartney were produced. AIR Studios was one of the most popular recording studios until its destruction by Hurricane Hugo in 1989.

Even though a hurricane and volcanic eruption caused the studio to close its doors, Sir George Martin, who fell in love with the island in the 1970s, wanted to continue the musical and artistic education of the island. After the volcanic destruction of the 1990s, Martin led the way in raising funds for a new cultural center by spearheading a major fundraising concert event. Dubbed Music for Montserrat, the concert was held at London's Royal Albert Hall in 1997 and featured many of the former AIR Studios recording artists such as Paul McCartney, Sting, Elton John, and Eric Clapton. Martin also sold 500 autographed limited edition lithographs of the score he produced for the Beatles' song "Yesterday."

On May 12, 2007, The Montserrat Cultural Centre, featuring the Sir George Martin Auditorium, opened its doors. Built at a cost of over US$2 million and used as a venue for concerts, conferences, exhibitions, ceremonies, and other special events, the cultural center is part of the country's long-term strategy to develop Little Bay as a new urban area. For more information on the Montserrat Cultural Centre, visit

Montserrat, a lush green and mountainous island of approximately 39 square miles, lies in the Eastern Caribbean chain of islands. Known fondly as the "Emerald Isle" of the Caribbean, this pear-shaped island is a traveler's paradise for nature lovers, divers, and adventurers. The former capital city, Plymouth, lies buried in volcanic ash, a transformation that likens this British overseas territory to a modern day Pompeii, while in contrast, the rest of the island flourishes, boasting green mountains, world-class nature trails, deserted dark sand beaches, untouched reefs and a quiet, friendly charm reminiscent of the way the Caribbean used to be. For more information on Montserrat and its breathtaking scenery and unspoiled, unpolluted coral and volcanic vistas, visit


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