The summer of 2020 is like no other. For musicians and the arts community, there has been a loss of connection with audiences.
As summer draws to a close, RTÉ continues the commitment it has shown to artists throughout the pandemic and brings performers together to play for all of us.
Airing on RTÉ One on Saturday 29 August, Shine is a magical hour of music and words filmed at the Iveagh Gardens, the National Concert Hall and at RTÉ over a couple of summer days.
The programme features stunning performances from a collection of our most celebrated artists and emerging talent. Villagers, west Kerry concertina player Cormac Begley, indie singer Anna Mieke and Booka Brass with Niamh Farrell play live in the beautiful acoustic setting of the Iveagh Gardens. The National Concert Hall plays host to Dermot Kennedy and Denise Chaila with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, a first for both orchestra and venue since the pandemic silenced orchestra performances.
Sopranos Celine Byrne and Emer Barry perform with members of the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and Irish/Icelandic male vocal group M'Anam play together in a link-up between Dublin and Reykjavik. All-female rock band Pillow Queens take the tempo up in studio, while singer Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh brings together a group of celebrated traditional musicians to conclude the concert. Threaded throughout, there is powerful commissioned spoken word from Stephen Murphy, Natalya O'Flaherty and John Boyne, poetry from Jane Clarke and writing by Dermot Bolger performed by Loah and Simply Folk host Ruth Smith.
"Maybe in fifty years' time someone will find a poem written now by a poet on a solitary walk. It won't tell them the statistics of what hit Ireland in 2020. But maybe it will tell them what it felt like to be alive now, because poetry is news that stays news and people don’t change."
-from 'Night Walker’ by Dermot Bolger
Shine On, an RTÉ Player exclusive, is also available from 9.30 pm on Saturday 29th August. This 30-minute programme features performances from Dermot Kennedy, Denise Chaila and the RTÉ Concert Orchestra as well as behind-the-scenes footage and backstage interviews. This exciting collaboration marks the first time for each of these artists to perform with the RTÉ CO, and the first time the orchestra performed together inside since lockdown, complete with social distancing, facemasks and screens.
Also on 30 August at 6 pm, RTÉ Radio 1 will broadcast Shine presented by John Creedon, a compendium of great music and newly-commissioned spoken word from leading Irish artists in the midst of the pandemic.
Ann-Marie Power, Group Head of Arts & Culture, RTÉ said: "After the powerful moment of RTÉ's Shine Your Light at Easter, during the country's darkest hour, we are delighted to present Shine, supporting our artists because they have been supporting and sustaining us through these past few months. It's so moving to see the level of emotion in the artists as they perform again for the first time in months, and we get some glimpse into the thousands of hours that go into mastering a craft, bringing home, yet again, how important it is for our country to cherish and nourish the enormous well of talent we have here in Ireland."
Shine - RTÉ One, Saturday, 29th August at 8.15 pm
Shine On - available on RTÉ Player from Saturday 29th August at 9.30 pm
Shine - RTÉ Radio 1, Sunday, 30th August at 6 pm