Waitiki Hits Honolulu

Waitiki 7Waitiki is a Boston-based musical collective, but their sound — dubbed “exotica” — is undeniably influenced by the islands. And the group will have its only public Honolulu performances of 2010 this week… two different shows with two different sounds in the city that inspired them.

Founded by Hawaii-born bassist Randy Wong and Waipahu High School grad and drummer Abe Lagrimas, Jr., Waitiki is a Polynesian lounge band that adds a modern twist to the “tiki” style and aesthetic of the 50s and 60s.

Tomorrow, The Waitiki 7 (an ensemble mixing musicians from Hawaii, Boston, and New York City) will perform at Gordon Biersch from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. The show is part of Robert Shinoda’s “Gordon Biersch Jazz Wednesdays” series, and the group will fittingly bring a mixture of Latin, straight ahead, and exotic-themed jazz standards and originals.

Details can be found on Facebook: “The Jazz Sounds of the Waitiki 7.”

Then on Friday, the group will let its exotica lounge flag fly at Fresh Cafe (831 Queen St.). The Waitiki 7 will play “classic exotica anthems guaranteed to make you dance… from uptempo soca, reggaeton, salsa, zouk, and semba to downtempo ultra-lounge.” Advance tickets can be purchased online at the Honolulu Box Office (or by calling 550-TIKS) for $15/$7 students (plus $3 surcharge), or $20/$10 students at the door. There will be free valet parking.

Again, details can be found on Facebook: “The Sounds of Exotica Lounge with the Waitiki 7.”

I’ve been a fan of Waitiki for years, after discovering an earlier collaboration called “Akamai Brain Collective.” Randy Wong and Abe Lagrimas Jr. had joined with Eric Lagrimas to create “progressive island jams,” and they were so progressive, they were more than happy to let me play their songs on my first podcast, “HawaiiUP,” back in 2005. Indeed, the track “Bananas & Rice” became the HawaiiUP podcast theme song.

Ah, the memories!

If you want to get a taste of the Waitiki sound, check out samples on Amazon.com. But your best bet to experience the best of exotica? Check out either or both of their shows in town this week.

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