Exotica Recreators Waitiki will Close 2010 with a Series of Concerts

Waitiki 7 Live - Photo by Jason Goodman
Champions of exotica Waitiki will celebrate the year’s end at Don the Beachcomber, the restaurant haven of the great mixologist Donn Beach and all things tiki. The events will honor Beach and the stunning libations he created; exotica living legend Robert Drasnin; and leaders of the ’90s tiki revival Combustible Edison with live music, original cocktails, and DJ sets.

The luscious mix that is exotica-the blend of tropical soundscapes, Latin dance grooves, and popular jazz-is an adventuresome and musically intricate mix. Often mistaken as kitsch, exotica flows from the vibrant postwar Hawaiian music scene and draws on everything from jazz to folk ballads, to second-generation Japanese club bands made of traditional Asian instruments, to Puerto Rican percussionists who came to the island midcentury to work.

Exotica musicians like vibraphonist Arthur Lyman (who recorded 3 gold records and whose hit single “Yellow Bird” peaked at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1961) created otherworldly pieces that straddled the boundaries of jazz.

Fellow vibist Lionel Hampton, for one, was so smitten with Lyman’s sound that he would follow and sit-in with him when on tour. This jazzy side of exotica-or exotic side of jazz-will be highlighted when the Waitiki Quartet takes the stage with well-loved standards and hot originals on December 29.

Waitiki 7 Live - Photo by Jason Goodman
Drasnin-a jazz clarinetist, exotica ghostwriter, and former Director of Music at CBS now in his 80s-will take the podium on December 30 to lead the Waitiki 7 in a rare, live performance of his 1959 cult classic album Voodoo, a requisite for every space-age bachelor pad.

Waitiki 7 and Drasnin will be joined by vocalist Sherry Shaoling (of Honolulu’s exotica darlings Don Tiki), whose powerful voice channels forgotten exotica divas like Japanese-American Ethel Azama or Peruvian Yma Sumac.

Nearby, Combustible Edison’s Brother Cleve and The Millionaire will spin everything from go-go and surf to exotica disco and big beat in their first joint DJ appearance in fifteen years.

For New Year’s Eve, the Waitiki 7 get swanky, in a danceable homage to Combustible Edison , pioneers of the renewed interest in non-rock instrumental music from the 50s and 60s. “We were a lightning rod fans of all these vintage recordings could rally around, as we not only gave props to these styles but wrote original music in that spirit,” Brother Cleve explains. “Tiki Exotica was one aspect of what we did, and we helped revitalize it.” This lightning rod attracted big names like Quentin Tarantino and Matt Groening, as well as legions of fans.

The evening will feature the first performance of Combustible Edison’s music since the band’s demise a decade ago, with help from Brother Cleve and The Millionaire. Midnight will transform the ballroom into a full-on tiki dance party. Waitiki and Combustible Edison will reveal their mixologist side: Original craft cocktails by Brother Cleve, Randy Wong, and others will join Beach’s creations on the drink menu.

Randy Wong of Waitiki 7 - Photo by Jason Goodman
Donn Beach had a famous rapport with diners-to leave their worries and their fears outside. Inside the restaurant is one’s own personal paradise, whether it be from the libations, entertainment, or conversations with the hosts and hostesses,” notes Waitiki bandleader Randy Wong, whose tiki-insipired cocktails have made it onto menus at several fine dining establishments in Boston. “This makes Don the Beachcomber very different from anyplace else. It naturally has a close-knit, family-friendly environment that’s perfect for these three evenings.”

Event details:

12/29/2010, Wed
Huntington Beach, CA
Don the Beachcomber, 16278 Pacific Coast Highway
Tickets: $30/$40
Doors Open: 7:00 pm, Show: 8:00 pm
Limited menu offering entrees varying from $18-$33, as well as different Pupu selection varying from $7 to $16 which will be served A La’ Carte.
Full service bar with a special cocktail featured for that night.
Ph: (562) 592-1321

12/30/2010, Thu
Huntington Beach, CA
Don the Beachcomber, 16278 Pacific Coast Highway
Tickets: $125/85/75/40
Doors Open: 7:00 pm, Show: 9:00 pm
Dinner Packages {TAX AND GRATUITY NOT INCLUDED}.
Free entrance for Wednesday’s performance for those who purchase both Thursday & Friday dinner packages.
Your name will automatically be entered onto the guest list for Wednesdays Show.
Ph: (562) 592-1321

12/31/2010, Fri
Huntington Beach, CA
Don the Beachcomber, 16278 Pacific Coast Highway
Tickets: $125/85/75/40
Doors Open: 7:00 pm, Show: 9:00 pm
Dinner Packages {TAX AND GRATUITY NOT INCLUDED}.
Free entrance for Wednesday’s performance for those who purchase both Thursday & Friday dinner packages.
Your name will automatically be entered onto the guest list for Wednesdays Show.
Ph: (562) 592-1321

Recordings available:

Author: World Music Central News Department

World music news from the editors at World Music Central

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