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Bangor Boys Hit Back At The Bullies With Powerful Self-Penned Song

National Anti-Bullying Week, November 16-20

Daniel Mulligan, Mark J Adair & Alexis Mulligan

AS over 800 schools and youth groups across Northern Ireland mark this year’s Anti-Bullying Week (Mon 16 to Fri November 20), a special song A Storm is Coming is being shared with young people to inspire and encourage them.

Anti-Bullying Week is coordinated by the Northern Ireland Anti-Bullying Forum (NIABF) and supported by Translink. NIABF is an interagency group hosted by the National Children’s Bureau (NCB) NI and funded by the Department of Education.

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The outline of the song was written by Bangor based Alexis Mulligan (24). Alexis, who is a student at South Eastern Regional College (SERC, Newtownards), has ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) and learning difficulties. Alexis chose to use the analogy of a ‘storm’ because he felt it summed up perfectly the feelings of inner turbulence, powerlessness and fear associated with being bullied.

Speaking of his inspiration behind the son, Alexis said: “The topic of bullying was recently explored during one of my lessons at South Eastern Regional College (SERC) and it inspired me to write a piece, originally titled A Storm Is Coming After Me, to reflect my own experience of being bullied and overcoming it.

“I asked my brother Daniel to turn my idea into a finished song. When I played his home recording of the adapted song to my SERC classmates they were very impressed. My tutor, Laura Flynn, then contacted the Northern Ireland Anti-Bullying Forum (NIABF) who were excited to share the song as part of Anti-Bullying Week 2015.”

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Daniel Mulligan (32), from Bangor, a self-taught acoustic guitarist and singer/songwriter, has been writing and performing under the name Dolbro Dan since he was 24. Often referred to as Northern Ireland’s answer to Bob Dylan, his YouTube channel has attracted more than 100,000 viewers.

He said: “I was happy to expand upon Alexis’s original theme; I thought it was very creative and inspired. I was also able to draw upon my own experience of bullying to bring a greater sense of empathy to the song.

“When NIABF offered to include the song as part of Anti-Bullying Week I approached my friend and music producer, Mark J Adair, to help develop the basic ‘guitar and vocals’ demo into a full studio production. I am extremely grateful for all that Mark has contributed to the song.”

Translink’s Ursula Henderson and Lee Kane, Regional Anti Bullying Coordinator, Northern Ireland Anti Bullying Forum (NIABF) with students from Largymore Primary School, Lisburn

Translink’s Ursula Henderson and Lee Kane, Regional Anti Bullying Coordinator, Northern Ireland Anti Bullying Forum (NIABF) with students from Largymore Primary School, Lisburn

Mark J Adair, a music producer with Vega Sounds Studios in Bangor, produced the final recording. As well as providing his own multi-instrumental arrangement, Mark organised for the choir from Kilcooley Primary School, Bangor, to take part and add energy to the song’s finale.

He said: “When my talented friend, Dan, approached me to be involved in this project I had to say yes.

“I experienced bullying when I was in high school, to the point I had to leave early because it wasn’t resolved properly.

“It was a horrible time for me, and for my mother who tried her best to help me. Therefore it is really important that everyone knows about Anti-Bullying Week, not just the pupils but their teachers as well.

“Despite leaving school early, I now own a successful recording studio business and I am pleased my musical ability will shine light on the message of the week ahead, helping to eradicate the ‘boys will be boys’ mentality that has no place in our society today.”

pic 3 anti bullying pic 2015

Lee Kane, Regional Anti-Bullying Co-ordinator, Northern Ireland Anti-Bullying Forum (NIABF), the organisers of Anti-Bullying Week, added: “On behalf of the Forum, I would like to congratulate Alexis, Daniel and Mark. The song that they have written and recorded captures the turmoil of bullying and the impact it has on children, young people and adults. What people who are experiencing bullying must remember is that there is help available.

“I have no doubt that this song, which is part of the Anti-Bullying Week 2015 campaign, will resonate with children and young people across Northern Ireland and further afield. I would encourage everyone who hears it to take a few moments to think about what bullying means to them, about what that storm looks like and how, together, we can make the sun shine.”

A Storm Is Coming will be performed in public for the first time on Wednesday November 18 (11am-12.30pm) at a special awards ceremony in Belfast to celebrate this year’s anti-bullying art, creative writing and movie competition.

“The competition, which has attracted almost 3000 entries, provides a channel for individuals to tell a story or convey their views on how bullying should be tackled. The event takes place in at RADAR, Northern Ireland’s first fully interactive, safety and lifeskills education centre (Unit 8-12 Harbour Court, 9 Heron Road, Sydenham Business Park, Belfast BT3 9HB).

To download and listen to A Storm Is Coming log onto www.vegasoundstudios.com

To find out more about Anti-Bullying Week log on to www.endbullying.org.uk

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