The Tiger Lillies were formed in 1989 and as the decades go by their sound remains one of the most unique and original things one could come across. Martyn Jacques, the band’s front man, songwriter and founder, spent most of his twenties in a flat above a brothel in London’s Soho, peeping through his window at the buzz of Soho’s lowlife. It took him a good ten years to turn that strange world into art, while training as a singer and songwriter. In 1989 he got his first accordion and The Tiger Lillies were formed shortly after.
Back in the early 90’s the avant garde trio stood out immediately for its distinct sound and style and the band quickly worked its way up from London pubs to the Piccadilly Theatre and buskers’ benches to the Sydney Opera House. Soon the The Tiger Lillies were touring the world giving concerts and participating in various art and theatre projects. A couple of the many highlights in their career were the 2 Olivier Awards they won for the cult hit musical Shockheaded Peter and the Grammy nomination for their album The Gorey End.
Within the last two decades The Tiger Lillies have been doing an average of over 200 gigs a year and despite spending so much time on the road they have managed to also release more than one album a year (total number is somewhere around 35, but who is counting?). They have participated in numerous shows all over the world, collaborating with artists of all disciplines: from circus performers to Shakespearean actors, experimental dancers to avant garde photographers and burlesque puppeteers to classical music ensembles.
The world of The Tiger Lillies is dark, peculiar and varied, with moments of deep sadness, cruel black humour and immense beauty. This unique “anarchic Brechtian street opera trio” tours the world playing songs about “anything that doesn’t involve beautiful blonde girls and boys running at the meadow” to quote their founder Martyn Jacques. Hence, their songs cover all the dark aspects of life, from prostitution and drug addiction to violence and despair. Always with a touch of twisted humor and sharp irony The Tiger Lillies “point an implicit accusing finger back at us: what on Earth are we doing, laughing at this stuff?”. Their music is a mixture of pre-war Berlin cabaret, anarchic opera and gypsy music, echoing the voices of Bertolt Brecht and Jacques Brel. The Tiger Lillies shock, amuse and entertain in a postmodern vaudeville way, with their inimitable in-yer-face shows, where no limit should be taken for granted.