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Singing cabbie pens beautiful tribute to tragic teen Noah Donohoe

Mystery: Noah Donohoe died aged just 14

Mystery: Noah Donohoe died aged just 14

Jamie McDowell

Belfast’s singing cabbie Manuel Burns has written a beautiful tribute to tragic teen Noah Donohoe.

The artist and taxi driver has taken pen to paper with fellow musician Chris Dickson in a musical tribute to both young Noah and George Floyd, who died in the USA after an altercation with the police just a month before Noah died in Belfast.

Speaking to the Sunday World, Manuel said: “During lockdown I think I’ve recorded about 120 songs – to be honest I probably could have written double that!

“But with what happened to Noah Donohoe, and with George Floyd, I wrote a song called Eternally, which I hope will mean something to Noah’s mum.

“It’s a lovely song in D minor. There’s a bit of an Irish influence, and believe it or not, a Japanese feel to it.”

While the singer-songwriter duo have been locked down for most of 2020, they’ve been putting their efforts into writing material that covers issues which have been dominating the news both at home and abroad.

In Eternally, Manuel hopes his words will resonate with the wider public in regards to young Noah’s passing.

Emotion: Manuel Burns

Emotion: Manuel Burns

The song opens: ‘Can you imagine a stolen son, a world of gladness that has come undone?’

The chorus adds: ‘You still belong to me, you’re in my heart and soul eternally.’ Now Manuel hopes the song will add a small degree of comfort to Noah’s family.

“I haven’t been in touch with the family,” he said, “but I just want them to know that people are thinking of them and thinking of Noah.”

The renowned musicians, who record their material at Earthmusic at the Westlink Enterprise Centre in Belfast, gave up covering other musicians’ work about two years ago to do their own thing. And they believe music can still be a powerful force in terms of comforting people.

“It just hurt me, sitting watching the news every night about Noah,” said Manuel. “That’s where the lyrics came from.

“It would be really nice to re-record the song and maybe get a couple of other artists in it.

Band: Manuel with musicians Chris Dickson and Gerard Skelly

Band: Manuel with musicians Chris Dickson and Gerard Skelly

“Noah’s death is still a mystery, and there’s a lot of confusion over what happened. It was a tragedy. He was only 14 years old and you can only imagine the hell his mother is going through.

“But the first line of the song sums up what I think what a lot of people thought when they heard the news about Noah. Can you imagine a stolen son and a world of gladness taken away from you?

“It’s a song about loss. There are deep lyrics in it and each verse is as strong as the last verse.”

Manuel Burns’ music is available on Bandcamp.

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