Founded in Boston (2003) by two frost-bitten Honolulu college transplants, WAITIKI (a portmanteau of “Waikiki” and “Tiki”) is a professional musical ensemble specializing in midcentury Exotica music. Inspired by Les Baxter, Martin Denny, Arthur Lyman, Gene Rains, Robert Drasnin, and others of the late 1950s-mid 1960s, WAITIKI aims to recreate the sound, ambience, and fun of the classic Tiki aesthetic.
Initially formed as a quartet, the musical activities of WAITIKI have expanded to include many other formats. Over the years, WAITIKI has performed in arrangements such as:
- The WAITIKI 7, an all-star septet of top-call Jazz, Latin, and Chamber musicians, all of whom have a passion for Exotica
- The WAITIKI Orchestrotica, a 25-piece big band and vocal quartet, performing original arrangements of Mexican composer, Juan Garcia Esquivel
- The WAITIKI 7+7, in which we augmented the septet with a string quartet, trumpet, trombone, and tenor sax; creating a 14 pc condcutorless exotica chamber orchestra
- WAITIKI with Symphony Orchestra, in which we are accompanied by a 100-piece symphony orchestra
- The Kahiki Serenaders, a New England-based combo focusing on instrumental Hapa-Haole songs and cocktail jazz—perfect for your backyard Tiki bbq when the snow finally melts!
In 2007, to organize our collective activities, WAITIKI INTERNATIONAL LLC (EIN 27-5124673) was formed. Our home base is now in Honolulu, Hawaii, although we’re always ready to travel!
Loves tamales, laulau, poi, bananas, and a healthy dose of guiro. Probably the only guy on Earth with a quijada on his desk; will play Quiet Village at the drop of a hat.
Abe Lagrimas Jr.
An incredible musician! In addition to his firecrackin’ drum solos, exotic grooves, and animal calls, Abe’s arrangements have been a cornerstone of the WAITIKI songbook since day one.
Better known as The Mayor of Exotica (or “TMOX”), Tim is jack of all trades—and master of all! Many of our newer tunes, such as those for Les Baxter Centennial’s at Retro Cocktail Hour’s 25th Anniversary, were penned by Tim!
Dr. Helen Liu
Our First Lady of WAITIKI, Helen’s playing “exudes Viennese schmaltz” (Palm Beach Post) and just brings that certain je nais se quois to our music that you’re sure to love.