Niamh Farrell is the lead singer of popular Irish band Ham Sandwich - she performs alongside Booka Brass at Shine, 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, featuring stunning performances from a collection of our most celebrated artists and emerging talent.  Niamh joins a bill that includes Villagers, The RTÉ Concert Orchestra, Denise Chaila, Dermot Kennedy, west Kerry concertina player Cormac Begley, and many more. 

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We asked Niamh for her choice cultural picks...

FILM

I wouldn't be the biggest fan of horror movies but I recently watched A Quiet Place on Netflix and it was marvellous. Plenty of suspense and scary aliens and the acting is fantastic, considering there’s not much dialogue in the movie! Normally I watch scary movies from behind my hands but I was engrossed in this movie from the beginning and would highly recommend it if you’re looking for a thrilling scary movie!

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MUSIC

I have recently been listening to a lot of Phoebe Bridgers and she is just fantastic. Her lyrics are so wonderful and dark and she doesn’t seem to take herself too seriously which I love. Her latest song is called I Know the End and the way it builds is just fantastic songwriting and there’s so much power in it, it lifts me up every time I hear it. All her albums are worth a listen.

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BOOK

The last book I read was Billy Connolly’s book called Tall Tales and Wee Stories. It made me laugh like no other book I have read. It’s a compilation of all his best stories from his stand-up over the years and you absolutely read the book in his voice. I’ve always had a soft spot for Scottish people having lived just outside Glasgow from the age of 12 until 19, I love the accent and the way they tell a story and Billy Connolly is just magic at this! Definitely well worth a read in these gloomy times!

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TV

The programme (or programmes) that got me through the last couple of months was any Alan Partridge. My favorite is probably Mid Morning Matters. The character of Alan is so complex and manages to make you feel sorry for him at the same time as thinking he’s an idiot. It never fails to make me laugh and I could watch it again and again. I’m really looking forward to the next series of This Time as the first series was amazing.

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GIG

Unfortunately I have no gigs coming up to go and see due to the restrictions and the government seemingly forgetting about the entertainment industry. It’s absolutely awful to think of all the gigs I have been to last year and how much the crew work on these shows and the uncertainty that’s facing them and musicians around the country. The last gig I managed to get to was The Strokes in Belfast and I am so glad I got to go to it! They were amazing and thinking back to it makes me miss gigs so much.

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ART

I recently went to Rua Red in Tallaght and saw Joe Caslin’s work Resilient Resilience, a street art project with Cruinniú na nÓg 2020. It’s breathtaking in the flesh. A huge mural which includes May Kay, an absolute legend of a woman, and a ship and water. The piece explores and traces the positive idea of being and becoming and was created by Joe along with nine young people from south Dublin. Entry into it is free, it’s showing until the 3rd of October and is well worth popping in to see!

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PODCAST

I absolutely love Adam Buxton’s podcast. Having been a fan of Adam and Joe’s BBC 6 music podcasts for years, I religiously listen to Adam Buxton’s podcasts now! He interviews people from all different walks of life and it’s never boring! He has a great rapport with the people he chats to and the conversations can go anywhere! If you have never heard any of his podcasts before I would recommend listening to the ones where he chats to Joe Cornish and Louis Theroux, the three of them are old friends and the chats are hilarious! If creepy stories are more your style then The Creep Dive is an amazing podcast by three fabulous Irish women. I can’t get enough of it!

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TECH

I’m a total sucker for Tik Tok at the minute!! I love keeping up to date with what the "kids" are into these days and the creativity of a lot of the videos just blows my mind! There seems to be a lot of positivity amongst the younger generations on it and they really support one another and have their own little communities on there. I have yet to do my own Tik Tok video but I might have to so my son thinks I’m still cool!

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THE NEXT BIG THING...

Denise Chaila and CMAT. Two Irish female musicians who are just on the up and up. Both are unreal performers and song writers, and I can’t wait to see where their talent takes them.

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Shine, RTÉ One, Saturday 29 August - find out more here.