Waitki at Don the Beachcomber featuring Robert Drasnin

The Mixologists of Paradise:
Don the Beachcomber presents

WAITIKI: A 3-Day Festival Celebrating Exotica Music & Tiki Cocktails

Don The Beachcomber Restaurant
16278 Pacific Coast Hwy,
Huntington Beach, CA 92649
(562) 592-1321

Featuring Exotica’s finest:


Wednesday 12/29: The Jazz Sides of Exotica
Exotica musicians like vibraphonist Arthur Lyman created otherworldly pieces that straddled the boundaries of jazz. This jazzy side of exotica — or exotic side of jazz — will be highlighted when the WAITIKI quartet takes the stage with sweetly swinging hapa-haole tunes by R. Alex Anderson, Arthur Lyman, Queen Liliu’okalani, to the cool Latinesque grooves of Cal Tjader, Lee Morgan, Duke Ellington, Bill Fitch and Tim Mayer.

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Thursday 12/30: Coronation of the Voodoo Masters
Contemporary exotica masters The WAITIKI 7 make a rare West Coast appearance, on this special night commemorating classic exotica. The WAITIKI 7 made Hawaiian music history this summer with rankings at #1 on the JazzWeek World and #2 on the CMJ Jazz charts, and have been noted by New York Times music critic Nate Chinen as “the band to beat.” Special guests Robert Drasnin (former CBS TV Director of Music and creator of the the 1959 exotica classic, Voodoo) and Sherry Shaoling (of Don Tiki) perform with the band too.

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New Year’s Eve: The New Sounds of Exotica
Ring in the New Year with as The WAITIKI 7 get swanky, in a danceable homage to Combustible Edison, pioneers of the lounge revival in the mid-90s! 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.

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Event Website:

Partygoers will step into a slice of paradise for three nights, December 29-31, 2010. 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.

Robert 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, is requisite for every space-age bachelor pad. The album was resuced and resurected from obscurity by Dionysus Records in 1996 and gained Drasnin a new generation of fans. 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.

“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.”

For ticket information, see http://donthebeachcomberpresentswaitiki.com/index.php/ticket-info or call (562) 592-1321


The Don the Beachcomber restaurants originated in the ’30s in Hollywood and grew to incorporate 16 restaurants under the brand umbrella. Donn Beach was responsible for creating and spreading tiki culture around the world, including his creation of rum drinks with a tropical twist, now offered at every mainstream watering hole and bar.

Although none of the early Don the Beachcomber restaurants exist today, thousands of other establishments opened following his lead. Unfortunately, many of these were poor imitations, losing focus on tiki culture. Under the ownership of Arthur and Delia Snyder, Don the Beachcomber is experiencing a rebirth with its first new restaurant in 20 years. The goal is to replicate the experience of the original tiki restaurants made popular in the ’40s and ’50s throughout Southern California, and in Orange County, where Don the Beachcomber opened its doors in Corona del Mar in 1969

About The WAITIKI 7

The WAITIKI 7 are dedicated to the celebration, preservation, and resurgence of exotica music, and the related tiki culture. WAITIKI 7 is modeled after the classic groups of Martin Denny, Arthur Lyman, and Gene Rains. The WAITIKI 7 is the only modern group that performs exotica completely live and acoustic-just like in the 1950s. And like their predecessors, the musicians of WAITIKI 7 all have extensive jazz, classical, and Latin training and chops.

With two critically acclaimed albums, Adventures in Paradise and New Sounds of Exotica, the group has shaken, stirred, and thrilled listeners from Boston to Hawai’i. They recently made exotica history by landing both albums on the radio charts at once (JazzWeek World chart, September 2010).

The Natatorium – created in honor of The WAITIKI 7 by Scott Marshall, Principal Bartender, Drink

3/4 oz Lemon Hart 151
3/4 oz Myer’s dark
3/4 oz Barbancourt
3/4 oz Rhum J.M.
3/4 oz orgeat
1/2 oz fresh lime
1/2 oz fresh grapefruit
1/2 oz R&W Orchard Apricot Liqueur
1/4 oz cinnamon simple syrup
1/4 oz house grenadine
Dashes of Bittermens ‘Elemakule Tiki Bitters over the top

Written by Dionysus Records