London Monkeys is an acoustic (vocals, piano/guitar) cabaret duo formed in 2019, but with a years experience behind. We are based in London, (England) and currently perform a set of 16 original songs. (we keep adding new songs to our list)
A one hour set of a 10 songs possible as is a lineup from a duo to a full band including vocals, piano, guitar, base, percussion/drums, sax/clarinet, trumpet/accordion.
The story of the London Monkeys is almost entirely one of 2019, since they met at a New Year’s Eve party a couple of hours before midnight. Jack was generally making a nuisance of himself, walking around taking pictures, and Anna spilled some white wine (fortunately) on the lovely carpet. This was a sign that they were destined to work together.
Anna asked Jack if he could arrange a pop song of hers, and he replied that he’d rather have balsamic vinegar sprayed into his eyeballs than work on pop music. Actually, he was much more tactful than usual and simply said it wasn’t his thing. A couple of weeks later, he sent Anna one of his songs to record a vocal, and was mightily impressed with what she did. She asked if he had any more songs, and he sent her a whole pile. Anna suggested doing a show, and Jack responded in his usual grumpy, unenthusiastic, cynical fashion. However, Anna was made of much stronger stuff and swept away his excuses, prevarications and obfuscations, and the London Monkeys were born.
Jack has had quite a weird life. He has never yet been arrested. His first love was studying languages, although he managed to spend a fair amount of time at school showing off, and organising plays and cabarets and jazz concerts. Not to mention hypnotising his friends until he got caught by a teacher and promised not to do it again. He played the piano on cruise ships mainly in the Caribbean for a couple of years and came back to England looking for work as an actor, but spent a lot more time playing the piano in hotels and restaurants. He did manage to appear in movies such as The Russia House and Johnny English, in television shows such as The Bill and Bergerac, and worked in the theatre in Liverpool and Toronto for 6 months each.
He was production manager at The Green Room at The Café Royal, London’s premier cabaret room, for a couple of years. This involved operating the sound and lights for the show, liaising with the artistes and announcing them, as well as playing the piano before the show. Somewhere along the way, he also trained for several years each as a hypnotherapist, an acupuncturist, a nutritional therapist and a homeopath and began working full time as a hypnotherapist at Neals Yard Therapy Rooms about 10 years ago.
He wrote most of the songs in the show during a period of about 6 months in 2017. If you enjoy the show he’s happy to take all the credit. If you hate it, he will blame Anna and say that she forced him to do it. This is a disgusting, cowardly attitude, but he is that kind of guy.
Winston Churchill said about Russia: "I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma”. Anna is a bit like this, only smaller and not so cold in winter.
She began her career as the face of Russian breakfast television and then moved to being Playmate of the Year which was much more convenient as she didn’t have to get up so early or worry about her clothes. This led to a series of high visibility modelling contracts, which provided her with a platform to pursue her musical ambition as part of a female duo performing Russian disco.
She then abandoned the stardom which followed her successful participation in the first Russian X Factor in order to study acting. In the theatre she discovered a love of music and dance.
This experience convinced her to change direction and to start writing her own songs, blending Celtic-inspired folk ballads with 1970s and 1980s pop. Her arrival in London led to the freedom to explore many different directions: firstly the music of Weimar cabaret and also that of Alexander Vertinsky (‘The Russian Pierrot’—the planet 3669 Vertinskij was named after him). Rock followed, with her alter ego, Wolfberry, becoming a fixture on the Camden rock scene, as part of the band Sweet Surrender. Her memories of home then drew her to the gypsy band Russian Gypsy Soul...
So Churchill was right.