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Waitiki

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WAITIKI is a Boston-based exotic Polynesian lounge band ala the likes of Martin Denny, Arthur Lyman, Don Tiki, Esquivel, and Combustible Edison. Their debut album, “Charred Mammal Flesh: Exotic Music for BBQ” was recipient of a 2007 Hawaii Music Award for “Best Album: Exotica,” and has helped to re-introduce modern audiences to classic exotica. A recently released second album, “Rendezvous in Okonkuluku,” was produced by Brother Cleve and is considered (by the band) as a “fresh retrospective of classic exotica.”

Founded in 2003 by transplanted Hawaii musicians Randy Wong and Abe Lagrimas Jr., WAITIKI has performed throughout North America, in Mexico, and Hawaii. Both of the band’s founding musicians had early ties to exotica’s most famous artists; as drummer (and currently, vibraphonist) for Don Tiki, Abe Lagrimas performed on multiple occasions with Martin Denny (known for his rendition of Les Baxter’s “Quiet Village”) and at the famed Kahiki’s restaurant in Ohio. Bassist Randy Wong’s family was close friends with vibraphonist Arthur Lyman, and as a youngster, Wong would often see Lyman perform.

Today, the group is comprised of: “The Mayor of Exotica” - Tim Mayer, woodwinds & vocals; “Space Kadet” - Abe Lagrimas Jr., vibraphone & drum kit; “Smilin’ Jimmy Venuti” - Mikey Connors, drums & percussion; Zaccai Curtis - piano; Lopaka Colon - percussion; Helen Liu - violin; and “Prof. Humming Flower” - Randy Wong, bass and bandleader. The group’s repertoire consists of originals, arrangements of classic exotica (Denny, Lyman, Baxter, Drasnin), the big-band music of Juan Garcia Esquivel, and lounge favorites by Don Tiki.

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