Denise Chaila is a Zambian-Irish rapper, poet, grime and hip-hop artist from Limerick, and one of the stars of 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.  Denise joins a bill that includes Villagers, The RTÉ Concert Orchestra, Niamh Farrell, Dermot Kennedy, west Kerry concertina player Cormac Begley, and many more. 

We need your consent to load this YouTube contentWe use YouTube to manage extra content that can set cookies on your device and collect data about your activity. Please review their details and accept them to load the content.Manage Preferences

We asked Denise for her choice cultural picks...

FILM

Paris is Burning is essential viewing for anyone interested in Ru Paul's Drag Race, and I can’t recommend it enough. It’s a documentary following the lives of a handful of drag queens living in New York, their communities, their cultures, their lives, narrated by the queens themselves. Directed by Jennie Livingston, this is an unflinching and honest snapshot of an element of black history which is rarely acknowledged and often deliberately erased.

We need your consent to load this YouTube contentWe use YouTube to manage extra content that can set cookies on your device and collect data about your activity. Please review their details and accept them to load the content.Manage Preferences

MUSIC

I’m playing We Pause by King Pallas on repeat. It’s a hauntingly beautiful collection of songs that make me feel like a Victorian dandy, writing letters to my lost love from an old manor. By which I mean 'intensely evocative’. There are a lot of meditations on grief or loneliness here that break me open. Home breaks my rib cage open with nostalgia every time I hear it. Patrick’s voice just cuts through.

We need your consent to load this YouTube contentWe use YouTube to manage extra content that can set cookies on your device and collect data about your activity. Please review their details and accept them to load the content.Manage Preferences

BOOK

Anseo by Úna-Minh Kavanagh is one of the most important books I’ve read in the last five years. It’s a beautifully written memoir full of humour, honest personal reflections, and taking ownership of language, culture and self in a fast-paced world. If you’re looking for a beautiful encouragement to start learning Irish again? This is it. Cultural revival as essential to personal ownership and acceptance and vice versa. Huge fan.

THEATRE

I’m not a huge person for plays, but musicals? Completely different story. I find a troubling amount of people have never heard that Legally Blonde is also a musical. A really fun one at that! One which takes you on a deeper dive into the deeper themes of love, work, identity and feminism than the movie raises. Full disclosure: I almost recommended Cats to see if anyone would check it out after the movie version...

We need your consent to load this YouTube contentWe use YouTube to manage extra content that can set cookies on your device and collect data about your activity. Please review their details and accept them to load the content.Manage Preferences

TV

There’s a show called Sense8 that I always run back to. If you’re into sci-fi I recommend this as highly as I can. It follows the story of eight people around the world, who have never met, who are connected by a telepathic connection shrouded in mystery. When the social distance loneliness got too real, this is the daydream that held me. Also telepathy, gorgeous shots directed by Lana and Lily Wachowski— you have so many reasons to bite into this. Also, watch Lovecraft Country. So necessary.

We need your consent to load this YouTube contentWe use YouTube to manage extra content that can set cookies on your device and collect data about your activity. Please review their details and accept them to load the content.Manage Preferences

GIG

Bleeding Heart Pigeons are incredible. Full stop. I have an emotional reaction to the way their music hits me that could be probably embarrassing if anyone saw me in public. They did a show for Nua in Dolan’s that blew my mind and will graciously offer us another chance to see them take the stage at Ireland Music Week in October. I highly recommended you tune in. Also check out their last album Stir. For your health.

We need your consent to load this YouTube contentWe use YouTube to manage extra content that can set cookies on your device and collect data about your activity. Please review their details and accept them to load the content.Manage Preferences

ART

My favourite artist right now is Yudith Vargas Riveron. She has an exhibition in Havana called Bridges not Walls that broke my chest open. I’ll just quote her. My thoughts return to her photographs and her words often.

"The migrant is the loneliest being in the universe, because he only has himself and fear. And whoever is afraid is alone. Or only those who have been alone know true fear."

We need your consent to load this Instagram contentWe use Instagram to manage extra content that can set cookies on your device and collect data about your activity. Please review their details and accept them to load the content.Manage Preferences

PODCAST

I have two recommendations! The first is Dissect hosted by Cole Kuchna which is perfect if (like me) you’re a fan of analysing albums and songs. I’m a nerd and I love to get deep! Speaking of being a nerd: Rude Tales of Magic hosted by Branson Reese is my favourite podcast. Maybe ever. They’re playing Dungeons and Dragons. They’re all hilarious. The story gets extremely convoluted. I’m extremely invested.

TECH

Immersive storytelling and anything that helps facilitate that is my jam. For any writers, gamers or RPGers who don’t know: D&D Beyond is an incredible resource. It’s an app and a website built to support gameplay for Dungeons and Dragons players. There are any number of tools designed to help flesh out narratives and build characters. You don’t necessarily have to play table-top games to enjoy it, but it definitely helps...

We need your consent to load this YouTube contentWe use YouTube to manage extra content that can set cookies on your device and collect data about your activity. Please review their details and accept them to load the content.Manage Preferences

If we head into another lockdown, highly recommend immersive storytelling as a nourishing resource to get you through...

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