Skip to content

Halekulani – Thanksgiving 2023

Exotica Music Live at Halekulani’s
House Without A Key: November 24-25, 2023

Aloha! We are thrilled that to have you in the audience for these very special concerts, presented by the Halekulani. It is so meaningful to us to be able to return Exotica to its roots in Waikiki, and especially to the Halekulani, where Hawaii’s first Exotica musicians—Martin Denny and Arthur Lyman—initially met. In preparation for this weekend’s concerts, we put together this page for you with program information and to showcase the special connections between our music, the cocktails, and the Halekulani.

Meet The Band

Helen Liu – violin, percussion
Tim Mayer – soprano sax, alto flute, flute, hulusi
Mika Erickson – vibraphone
Matt Politano – keyboard
Abe Lagrimas Jr. – drums
Augie Lopaka Colon Jr. – percussion & birdcalls
Randy Wong – bass

Band Bios

The Music

Sixty-five years ago, the enchanting sounds of Hawaii’s musical maestros, Martin Denny, the virtuoso pianist, and Arthur Lyman, the mesmerizing vibraphonist, ignited a national sensation with their groundbreaking albums “Exotica” and “Taboo.” Through their creativity and passion, they not only crafted extraordinary music but birthed an entirely new genre — Exotica!

Attendees over the two performances will be treated to over 3 dozen arrangements from some of Exotica’s finest composers and performers (and composers from adjacent genres—Jazz, Cool Jazz, Latin, Bossa Nova, and Hapa-Haole, etc.), including:

Limited Edition Mai Tai Glasses – $30 each

In commemoration of this special event, Randy Wong & Helen Liu commissioned bespoke Mai Tai glassware from Commuter Industries. The glassware is only available from WAITIKI and is not sold in stores! They make the perfect stocking stuffers!

Glassware can be picked up from Randy during the week of 11/27. Details to come.

Special Cocktail:
“The Final Heir”

We’re so lucky to have a drink created in honor of our shows at Halekulani’s House Without A Key, by Halekulani’s Lead Mixologist (and our friend) Tuda Sarian

The drink is called The Final Heir, and it’s inspired by the hapa Hawaiian/Scottish heritage of Princess Ka‘iulani, the final heir apparent to the throne. 

Princess Ka’iulani was the daughter of Princess Likelike and an Edinburgh-born horticulturist. She was a leading voice in campaigns to restore the Hawaiian monarchy once it was overthrown in 1893. Ka’iulani was beautiful, smart and inspired many, including famed author Robert Louis Stevenson. A beloved half Scots-half Hawaiian royal, she serves as the embodiment of the merging of Scottish and Polynesian cultures… and she, the Final Heir to the Kingdom of Hawai’i, is the woman who inspired this drink.

Tuda wanted to create a tiki drink with complex, layered flavors picked right out of the islands in true tiki form. Cinnamon, for example, was one of many plants her father Cleghorn brought to the islands. The spirit base is @kohanarum made of Ancient Hawaiian Sugarcane Varietals as well as a flavorful peated, maritime Scotch. A Hapa Tiki, just like our princess.

Like Exotica music, The Final Heir is a beautiful and artful representation of the multiple heritages present in the islands. 

Please mahalo Tuda for her thoughtful drink composition! (And friends, please enjoy responsibly this weekend.) For those of you non-drinkers, and any youth out there, many terrific Tuda-crafted non-alcoholic drinks, and the standard soft drinks, are also available at the shows.

Featuring: KoHana Kea Agricole Rum, peated scotch, Velvet Falernum, Coffee Bean-infused Grand Marnier, Creme de Banane, Pineapple, Lemon, Oat-geat, and Cinnamon Agave


Note from Randy:

“Exotica music brought Hawaii’s musicians to the world stage,” enthused Randy Wong, bassist, and co-founder of WAITIKI 7. “The music is a beautiful, cultural tapestry—an artistic interpretation of the melting pot that makes living in Hawaii so special. We’re thrilled to return this music to its roots and are delighted to perform it at Halekulani.”  

Behind The Scenes

We rehearsed at Studio 909 of the Musicians Association of Hawaii, where we had the chance to practice “Quiet Village” using Martin Denny’s former piano!

Press & Media

  • HAWAII PUBLIC RADIO: interview (Craig DeSilva & Randy Wong)
  • HI NOW DAILY: “Pau Hana with KoHana” (Kainoa Carlson with Tuda & Randy)
  • MODERN LUXURY: story


  • Halekulani: Peter Shaindlin, Davide Barnes, Joseph Diver, Lisa Matsuda, Bonnie Bise, Crystal DeRosier, Tuda Sarian
  • Duane Padilla
  • Ko Hana Rum: Kyle Reutner & Tiffany Tubon
  • Skull & Crown / 17A Productions: Noa Laporga & Angelina Khan
  • Commuter Industries
  • Musicians Association of Hawaii: Robert Shinoda
  • Our families: The Wongs, the Mayers, the Lagrimases, the Politanos, the Ericksons, the Colons, the Lius 🙂
  • Twenty years of dedicated friends & fans! We love you!