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Inspired by the anti war satire created by Austrian writer Karl Kraus, the songs show a society marching to self destruction.  

Weiß geschminkt mit schwarz umrandeten Augen sitzt ein Mann auf einem Alten Sessel. Seine Mundwinkel zeigen nach unten.
Weiß geschminkt mit schwarz umrandeten Augen sitzt ein Mann auf einem Alten Sessel. Seine Mundwinkel zeigen nach unten. Andrey Kezzyn

The gypsy punk cult cabaret stars say the themes covered by the work are more relevant than ever in the light of the war in Ukraine. 

Songwriter and singer Martyn Jacques says: “Kraus talks about all the horrible things that happen in war. The starvation of the poor and the children, the deserters running away and being executed.  It is all very poignant.

Karl Kraus’ The Last Days of Mankind is an epic play written in Vienna during World War One.  The text includes overheard conversations, newspaper reports and political discussions - reflecting the conversations happening among coffee house radicals during the war.

The entire play would take 24 hours to perform and was said by its author to be impossible to stage.  A four hour theatre version, starring the Tiger Lillies, originating in Scotland, was directed by John Paul McGroarty and Yuri Birte Anderson and featured young actors from 11 European countries, including Ukraine.

Martyn Jacques said: “I’d never heard of Karl Kraus before being asked to take part in the project at Leith Theatre in Scotland.  It is a remarkable piece of work and it inspired me to write a lot of new songs.”

With their signature blend of chanson, opera and gypsy music the London-based Tiger LIllies defy definition. The group revel in the bawdy vaudeville traditions of prostitution, opium dens and the seedy life of the street musician.

The Tiger Lillies

  • Martyn Jaques (voice, accordion, piano, ukulele) 
  • Budi Butenop (drums, percussion, toys) 
  • Adrian Stout (double bass, saw, voice)

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