Musician’s tribute to massacre victims

Brian McCoy and Fran O'Toole, who were killed at the Miami Showband massacre
Brian McCoy and Fran O'Toole, who were killed at the Miami Showband massacre

The nephew of one of the men killed in the tragic Miami Showband tragedy of 1975 will this week release a single which he has penned as a tribute to his late uncle.

Brian McCoy, a Protestant trumpeter from Co Tyrone, died in the massacre near Newry alongside two of his fellow band members in an attack by the Ulster Volunteer Force.

His nephew Stephen Dunwoody has written the track Miami as a tribute to his life, and the lives of his fellow fallen band members.

The Belfast based pianist and singer/songwriter has revealed that his late uncle posted a birthday card which he received on the same day that he learnt of the dreadful massacre which claimed his life.

Almost 40 years later, Stephen has written a song which he has dedicated to Brian and the two other Miami Showband members who lost their lives, Fran O’Toole and Tony Geraghty . An accompanying video which includes never before seen footage of the band is also released ahead of the single launch tomorrow night at Belfast Culture Night.

Explaining more about the video, Stephen said: “The idea of the music video started with an old 16mm film.

“A wee while back my cousin was doing some work in his mum’s loft when he discovered an old reel of film which had lain there for 40 years. When he got the cine film converted to digital he was stunned to see his dad walk towards him on the screen. My cousin was barely four when his dad Brian died back in July 1975 and had only seen photos of him.

“Brian McCoy and his band had recorded events when they toured America in 1968, travelling from New York to Miami, and this was what he was now watching.

“Earlier this year I had recorded a song called Miami, and the McCoy family has kindly agreed to let me use the footage in my music video.”

Adds Stephen: “It does not dwell on the incident in 1975, instead it focuses on a trip I made some years ago from New York to Miami, similar to the one the band made in 1968. I spent much of the journey thinking about Brian.”

Stephen is an independent musician who has supported numerous international acts during a 20 year career, including Jools Holland, Ally McBeal star Vonda Sheperd, Wishbone Ash, The Corrs, Tom Robinson, Kirsty McColl and Bjorn Again.

His album Night Shift has been released on ITunes and CD baby and all major download sites. At the start of 2015, Stephen was voted number One in the VTYO world music video charts. He eventually rose to number 4 in the overall chart for his live recording of Nina Simone’s Nobody’s Fault.

n Stephen will be performing at Rosemary Street Church in Belfast tomorrow night with special guests Linley Hamilton, David McCann and Lazy Flies.

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