Originally the three women, Amy Saunders (a Gunditjmara woman from Portland), Lou Bennett (a Yorta Yorta Dja Dja Wurrung woman from Echuca) and Sally Dastey (from West Heidelberg) combined their vocal talents as backing singers for Aboriginal band Djaambi, led by Saunder's brother Richard Frankland in 1990. The group were invited to perform at a musical celebration for women's artistic achievement, 'Hot Jam Cooking', in Richmond, Victoria. Their performance was well received and inspired Ruby Hunter, Archie Roach's partner, to dub the trio Tiddas, which is Koori English for the word sisters.
After performing together for over a year the band came to the attention of Paul Petran, host of ABC National Radio show 'Music Deli', who assisted Tiddas to record their debut EP, Inside My Kitchen in 1991. Inside My Kitchen was released in October 1992 and received two nominations, for 'Best New Talent' and 'Best Indigenous Release', at the 1993 Australian Record Industry Association (ARIA) Awards.
Tiddas quickly became live favourites, touring with Sweet Honey in the Rock and Midnight Oil, adding didgeridoo player Tim "Froggie" Holtze for their first album Sing About Life. The album peaked at No. 36 on the ARIA charts, achieved gold record sales in Australia (35,000 copies sold), was nominated 'Breakthrough Artist – Album', and won 'Best Indigenous Record' at the 1994 ARIA awards. The album National and international tours followed, including several WOMAD concerts. Sing About Life was released in the United States in September 1995, spurring tours of North America and Europe.
The group felt so strongly about the direction and voice they had found in the interim they bluntly called the second album 'Tiddas', which was produced by Joe Camilleri. The album was released in Australia in August 1996. Tiddas reached No. 26 on the ARIA charts and was nominated for 'Best Indigenous Release' at the 1996 ARIA awards. The first single, "Ignorance is Bliss", was reputedly inspired by an argument with Bob Geldof while touring in 1993. Backing musicians on the album included the Black Sorrows' Jen Anderson on violin, Joe Camilleri on sax (on "Waving Goodbye"), Peter Luscombe on drums, Steve Hadley on bass, and Weddings, Parties, Anything's Mark "Squeezebox Wally" Wallace on piano accordion. A second single "Walk Alone" was released in 1997.
The third album, 'Lethal by the Kilo', was recorded in Melbourne's ABC studios in late 1998. The album received almost no promotion from the record company, which led to the band almost breaking up. Tiddas however went on to record a fourth album, pointedly named Show Us Ya Tiddas, which was recorded live at the Continental Café on 11 September 1999, in front of an invited audience. In May 2000 Tiddas did break up, spending months on a national tour to say farewell to all their fans. In 2000 Tiddas were awarded a Deadly Award for 'Outstanding Contribution to Aboriginal Music'.
Albums and EPs
- Inside My Kitchen (EP) – Black Heart Music (ID 0002-2) (October 1992)
- Sing About Life – Polygram (518 3482) (1993) AUS No. 36
- Tiddas – Black Pig/Polygram (532799-2) (5 August 1996) AUS No. 26
- Lethal by the Kilo – Mercury Music (538 277-2) (1998)
- Show us ya Tiddas – Festival Music (23768185) (1999)
- "Real World" – Polygram (8561922) (1994)
- "Ignorance is Bliss" – Polygram (5782672) (1996)
- "Walk Alone" – Polygram (1997)
- Sally Dastey
- Amy Saunders
- Lou Bennett
- Tiddas at loreoftheland.com
- Roberts, Jo (15 May 2007). "Songline of singing sister". The Age. Retrieved 12 July 2010.
- "Tiddas". HowlSpace. Retrieved 12 July 2010.
- "Deadlys 2000 winners". Vibe Australia. Archived from the original on 20 February 2011. Retrieved 12 July 2010.
- Swift, Brendan. "Tiddas – Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 12 July 2010.
- "Winners by Year – 27th ARIA Awards 2013: Search Results 'Tiddas'". Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). Retrieved 5 May 2014. Note: At the 1994 results ARIA incorrectly lists the album title as Sing About Love at Best Indigenous Release, but lists it as Sing About Life for Breakthrough Artist – Album nomination.
- "Tiddas Discography". Australian-charts.com. Retrieved 12 July 2010.
- "Tiddas". Vibe Australia. Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 12 July 2010.
- "Deadly's 2000". The Deadlys. Archived from the original on 31 August 2007. Retrieved 12 July 2010.