Denise Chaila - Lime Tree Theatre

Denise Chaila

Presented by Limerick Literary Festival in Honour of Kate O’Brien


The Limerick Literary Festival 2024 will be opened with an intimate evening of words and music by spoken word artist and musician Denise Chaila. This is sure to be a very special event which Denise describes as ‘half discussion half performance’, a unique opportunity to look inside the process of one Irelands most important contemporary artists.


Denise Chaila

Denise Chaila

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A rose by any other name is often a woman hidden in flowers. A romantic idea, until you find Ophelia in her stream, surrendering to the role she’s been given.

History, our lives, this city, all of music is littered with thousands of Ophelias. Silenced artists relegated to remaining muses. Or lessons. Or witches. Or hags. Or flowers.

Integrity means the amalgamation of every part of who you are. Muse and maverick, pirate or politician, artist and author and audience. Writer, musician, poet. We’re constantly comingling roles. We are complex. And so what we make is complex. The alchemy of my work hinges on collage, literary reference, softening the borders of what’s expected of genre so I can find my voice embedded within. This ‘talk’ will be an attempt to redefine how to communicate my artistic process, articulated through sonic collage and contextualized by the queer, feminine and revolutionary histories which inform my work.

During this show I’ll meld music and myth and manifesto to experiment with new forms of public engagement underpinned by the principals of vulnerability, truth-seeking and artistic integration.

Denise Chaila

Denise Chaila is an Irish rapper, composer, singer and poet living in Limerick using couplets and rhythm to blur the lines between music myth and memory. They’ve collaborated with many artists including Sharon Shannon, Jafaris, Donal Lunny, Clannad, Sly5thAve, Ed Sheeran, Deekapz, and Wyvern Lingo to name a few.

Denise Chaila’s career began in 2014 as a Music Tutor with Music Generation Limerick and the Clare ETB and birthed her practice as a “community musician”, a writer and a political actor. Informed by two undergraduates in Politics and International Relations and Sociology & English (UL), her Choice award winning mixtape Go Bravely (2020) emerged as a macaronic collision of politics, pop culture and poetry, to critical acclaim. The most notable vanguards being her single, Chaila, a diasporan love song to the artist’s family and Anseo. A multilingual afropop anthem of self ownership and joyous cultural synergy.

Straddling the line between artist and activist, she is as known for her political commentary and journalism as her music. Her subsequent performances during the pandemic in the National Gallery of Ireland for the Courage concerts with Other Voices were a klaxon of vulnerability that opened the door to appearances on shows such as The Late Late show and Tommy Tiernan revealed the artist as an outspoken actor against racism, discrimination and civic apathy.

Her follow up to go bravely came in the form of the 2021 EP It’s A Mixtape and its accompanying short film Energy co-directed with Brian “B+” Cross, an Irish photographer and filmmaker living in LA also working at the intersection of art and activation. Offering 061 as a dedication to the city of Limerick and her history as a cosplayer and purveyor of speculative fiction.

Not long after this the artist penned the article  A Revolution of the Heart, a conversation with Michael D Higgins for Hot Press magazine documenting a conversation between the two. And Ireland, Zambia and the Sacred Dream of Freedom. A reflection on the historical and political links between the two countries following the death of President Kenneth Kaunda in 2020 RTÉ Culture.

2021 saw the artist make good on the promise of her potential and go on to win the Music Moves Europe Award at Eurosonic, Headline her first show at the Olympia and tour Europe breaking her teeth as a performer for the first time since the lockdown restrictions were lifted.

In 2022 she was honored with a Limerick Musicians Mayoral Reception, played Glastonbury Festival invited by BBC presenting, toured Ireland with Ed Sheeran and released 2step, a remix of Sheeran’s single alongside the artist.

2023 has seen Chaila venture her hand internationally to cut her teeth in the world of cinema as an actress and producer developing a film (The Supremes in Limerick) with creative partner Brian Cross and scoring and producing another (Imbolc) with longtime collaborator David Curley (The Clinic Recording Studios).

Twitter: @ChiefChailie |  Instagram: @denisemwakachaila

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  • Please note all ticket prices include a booking charge.
  • No exchanges or refunds.
  • Wheelchair spaces can only be booked over the phone. Please call box office on (061) 953400 if you wish to book a wheelchair space.
  • No late comers admitted to the theatre once show commences.
  • On street parking.

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