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The Tiger Lillies pave the way for touring in Ukraine

The British trio are thought to be the first international act to play full-scale concerts since the Russian invasion last year

By Lisa Henderson on 04 Aug 2023

The Tiger Lillies perform at the Caribbean Club in Kyiv

The Tiger Lillies perform at the Caribbean Club in Kyiv


image © Yuriy Gryaznov

The Tiger Lillies have paved the way for international acts to tour Ukraine with their recent performances in Lviv and Kyiv.

The British trio, whose latest album Ukraine is inspired by the war, are thought to be the first international act to play full-scale concerts since the Russian invasion last year.

Frontman Martyn Jacques told the Financial Times that the concerts at Lviv’s FESTrepublic and Kyiv’s Caribbean Club “were probably the most amazing concerts we’ve ever done”.

Having previously played in Ukraine, including in 2014 after the Maidan Revolution and Crimea’s annexation by Russia, the Tiger Lillies were invited to return by the same promoter, Yougin Kibets.

“Tiger Lillies will be my breakthrough to write to a lot of agents, saying that you can see we did our first live show”

Kibets – who used to promote about 70 shows, mostly with non-Ukrainian acts – hopes the band’s performances (which were paid) will attract other foreign acts: “Tiger Lillies will be my breakthrough to write to a lot of agents, saying that you can see we did our first live show.”

Though the Tiger Lillies are the first foreign act to deliver a fully-fledged gig, Ukraine has seen pop-up performances from the likes of U2’s Bono and The Edge, Slovakian musician and Pohoda festival founder Michal Kaščák, US video game composer Paul Romero and British hip-hop stalwarts Stereo MC’s.

Ukraine’s music industry is starting back up and fans are hungry for live entertainment, according to locals, but it’s still far from business as usual in the war-torn country.

Concerts usually finish by 10:30 pm due to a midnight curfew in most parts of the country and are sometimes interrupted by air raids; audiences and artists have diminished due to emigration and recruitment for the armed services; the logistics for international acts visiting the country are complex and dangerous.

“But if you have an audience there and they haven’t seen you play for a long time, then I think people should go,” says bassist Adrian Stout.

 


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