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Tiki Central Forums Tiki Music Robert Drasnin's performance at Hukilau '05
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Robert Drasnin's performance at Hukilau '05
Kenike
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 24, 2003
Posts: 1204
From: McKinney, TX
Posted: 2005-10-16 12:46 pm   Permalink

I'm very interested to know more about how the whole Robert Drasnin performance came about. During the show he kept mentioning that he "heard this song yesterday for the first time." How many reheasals were there? Did the band get together to rehearse any before meeting up with Mr. Drasnin? How was the band brought together? What was Mr. Drasnin's reaction to being asked to perform?

I'm hoping to hear some imput from Tiki_Kiliki, Tikibars, Formikahini, the Waitiki guys, and anyone else that may have had some involvement in making this happen. Just an amazing, historic performance that I'd love to know more about.

Mahalos in advance!!
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Mr. Ho
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 09, 2005
Posts: 428
From: Boston, MA
Posted: 2005-10-16 1:21 pm   Permalink

Okonkulukoo dood!

Mistah HO heeya to talk story bout drasnin da kine.

While WAITIKI wasn't involved in the original idea to have Drasnin, nor do we know how all that came about, we can comment on the music.

WAITIKI and some freelancers in Florida comprised the Drasnin group that night. Humming FLower did the original negoatiations with the Hukilau and Kiliki but at some point, it must have been communicated that da boyz in WAITIKI read and have degrees in music, and could be part of the Drasnin group. We received the music a week or two in advance; our individual parts etc. The reason he kept saying "first time" is because the new tunes off of Voodoo II had not been performed yet - so all he probably heard was the computer sequence of them in Finale or whatever program he used to write them. Rehearsal Thursday was the first hearing of the tunes.

The Drasnin band had one long rehearsal on Thursday; that was it. Some good cats down there in Florida...the percussionist you saw in back has played with Gloria Estefan, Ricky Martin, and some other big players.

My feeling is dat Drasnin enjoyed it very much; the album was definitely niche back in 1960 - but THIS AUDIENCE was the NICHE to whom it was sold ! So, I am sure it was fun for him to hear it live, and have so many enthusiastic fans.

For what it's worth, WAITIKI talked to Drasnin lots der, and we're hoping perhaps we can collaborate and maybe he would ask us to help record his Voodoo II record with him. We'll see what happens!

Anyhow, it was all good although I thought Drasnin was gonna kill the sound men on Thursday who blasted Yanni at stadium-level volumes prior to the rehearsal to do a "sound check" which was totally rediculous given the volume levels never came close to what they were testing at.

Ok, dats all from Ho.



[ This Message was edited by: Mr. Ho 2005-10-16 13:22 ]


 
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Kenike
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 24, 2003
Posts: 1204
From: McKinney, TX
Posted: 2005-10-17 06:26 am   Permalink

GREAT info Mr. Ho....much mahaloz! It would be great to hear you guys on Voodoo II.

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Formerly known as "Juno"

[ This Message was edited by: Kenike 2005-10-17 06:27 ]


 
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tikibars
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 11, 2002
Posts: 2022
From: Aku Hall, Chicago
Posted: 2005-10-17 09:31 am   Permalink

Here's the definitive story.

When Christie asked me in December of 2004 to help her with Hukilau 2005, our first order of business was to put together an entertainment lineup. I am very passionate about keeping some of the original musicians from the classic Tiki era involved in modern events whenever possible, so I started thinking of old-timers who might be around.

Since Mr. Drasnin's Voodoo is considered a classic, and since I had heard that he performed the material once, back in 1999, I thought that he might be willing to do so again. I ran the idea by Christie, and she approved it. Since Christie has sooo much else on her plate for Hukilau, and since my Hukilau job description was to be the guy in charge of all of the bands, it fell to me to put this massive project together. I did so gleefully.

First step: I simply called Robert Drasnin up, and asked him if he would be interested.

He had some hesitation, since the 1999 show (in Minneapolis) was not entirely to his satisfaction - mostly due to a noisy audience that contained a lot of people who were indifferent to the performance taking place.

Via some lengthy explainations of what Hukilau is and who would be there, as well as explainations of my own qualifications (my career in music), I reassured him that this situation would be different. He agreed to do the show, and we proceeded from there.

As Mr. Drasnin got his scores and charts together for the band, the task of actually finding the musicians became my next big task.

Christie had become (understandably) quite excited about having Waitiki at Hukilau by this point (they were her idea, and a great idea at that), and given that all four of the Waitiki guys can sight-read music and are well-versed in the Exotica style, we decided to use them as the core of the Drasnin orchestra. They were stoked about the idea.

Then I brainstormed for members of the TC ohana who might be qualified to do the gig, and came up with Alice Berry. She was also thrilled at the idea, of course. Strangely, no one else came forward after I made a TC post asking if anyone else might want to participate. That said, I could not make allowances in quality just to have my friends in the band - every single player had to meet strict criteria in order to pass muster: friends, TC ohana, or otherwise.

Through the summer, I spent many hours on the phone with Miami/Ft. Lauderdale music schools, musician's unions, and in networking amongst freelance players, trying to find people who were suitable candidates. Liz (aka IDreamOfTiki) put up some flyers for us at music schools. Christie excitedly called me when she found a harp player outside of a cafe. That gal didn't work out, but I called a friend of hers, and then a friend of a friend of hers, and then a friend of a friend of a friend of hers... and that player ended up on stage! I should have been a detective.

Eventually, I had the whole lineup assembled, Drasnin had the scores for Voodoo I ready, and he confirmed to me that he would have five new compositions from Voodoo II ready to perform at Hukilau.

This was amazing news, because as far as I know, this is the first time that a classic-era exotica artist has debuted new material in at least 30 years.

On the Thursday afternoon of Hukilau, Mr. Drasnin met eleven on the players for the first time - the 12th was his grandson! They sat down to rehearse the material, and went through the whole Voodoo LP and the five new songs over a five-hour period. Every one of the musicians were talented, professional, and nice people.

I wish a few of them had been less expensive, but you know the old saying: "talented, cheap, and available: pick two".
So we went for talented and available!

Drasnin was pleased with the rehersal, and yes, the five new pieces were performed for the first time ever at that rehersal (hence Robert's comment at the Friday night show about "hearing them for the first time yesterday"). Previously, they had only been in his head and on staff paper.

The show itself: well you were there so I will comment no further.

Hope this answered all of your questions.

As far as Voodoo II is concerned, Mr. Drasnin would need to pay for that recording himself, so it will be some time before that happens. Based on what little he told me, I'd look for it (tentitively - this is simply my guess) in 2007. I know that he was pleased with all of the players, particualrly the Waitiki guys, and the percussionist we hired. Getting them from Boston / Miami to LA for recording is costly - but that decision is up to Mr. Drasnin.


[ This Message was edited by: tikibars 2005-10-18 09:45 ]


 
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Jawa
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 09, 2005
Posts: 225
From: Tampa, FL
Posted: 2005-10-17 10:45 am   Permalink

Thanks for bringing this up Kenike!

And thanks to Mr. Ho and tikibars for giving us some info on the performance. It sucks that he would have to pay for everything himself, but I guess there is not enough of a market for any label to put it out

- Jason


 
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Kenike
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 24, 2003
Posts: 1204
From: McKinney, TX
Posted: 2005-10-17 6:22 pm   Permalink

Great info tikibars! Thanks for taking the time to answer all of my questions (Mr. Ho too). Have you been able to listen to any of the recording that was made that night? I'm wondering how good the sound quality is...especially the new tunes.
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weirduncletiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 26, 2002
Posts: 756
From: Grape Town, California
Posted: 2005-10-17 9:47 pm   Permalink

Great story, Tikibars! I wish I could have been there to bask in the magic. Can't wait for Voodoo II. Let Mr. Drasnin know that there is indeed some eager anticipation out here.

-Weird Unc


 
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tikibars
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 11, 2002
Posts: 2022
From: Aku Hall, Chicago
Posted: 2005-10-18 09:47 am   Permalink

Although there was an announcment made about recording, that didn't end up happening. Our pal Nik did shoot some video, and has whatever audio his video camera's mic picked up, but there is no official, release-quality recording.

 
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professahhummingflowah
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 11, 2005
Posts: 296
From: honolulu, hawaii & boston, ma
Posted: 2005-10-18 09:56 am   Permalink

Tidal Baum (I guess that's a helluva tree in the Forest of Tiki) -

Damn that is the most definitive story on the Drasnin collaboration ever. Now, if you'll let me retell it in the native Okonkulukuian tongue...

BWANA! BWANA-AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Okonkulu! Okonkuluku.........................
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WAITIKI INTERNATIONAL LLC: Advancing Exotica & Tiki for Modern Times
www.WAITIKI.com and also visit The WAITIKI 7

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tikibars
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 11, 2002
Posts: 2022
From: Aku Hall, Chicago
Posted: 2005-10-18 10:19 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2005-10-18 09:56, professahhummingflowah wrote:
Damn that is the most definitive story on the Drasnin collaboration ever. Now, if you'll let me retell it in the native Okonkulukuian tongue...
BWANA! BWANA-AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Okonkulu! Okonkuluku.........................



Ye, yes, very well put.
I like the subtle use of metaphor, and the cadence of your phrasing is terrific. The attention to detail surpasses my own description, and the inner vogonity of it all is just heart-rendering. Couldn't have put it better myself.


 
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professahhummingflowah
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 11, 2005
Posts: 296
From: honolulu, hawaii & boston, ma
Posted: 2005-10-20 12:03 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2005-10-17 09:31, tikibars wrote:
This was amazing news, because as far as I know, this is the first time that a classic-era exotica artist has debuted new material in at least 30 years.



Actually maybe the second time. If you count Martin Denny's recording of "Forever and Ever," on the Don Tiki album "The Forbidden Sounds of Don Tiki." That album was released in 2000, and I think Kit tracked Mr. Denny in the studio at least a year earlier. Denny wrote "Forever and Ever" in memory of his wife. Now, the piece probably isn't what would normally be considered as exotica - it's more along the lines of a Romantic piano work, but it does come from the father of exotica...

Regardless, and not to take away from Mr. Drasnin of course, it was a real pleasure for us to help Bob debut his new works slated for Voodoo 2. Our mahalos to JT and TK!!!
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www.WAITIKI.com and also visit The WAITIKI 7

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Traitor Vic
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jan 02, 2003
Posts: 428
From: Greenville, SC
Posted: 2005-10-20 10:50 pm   Permalink

That's a beautiful point made, professah. I have always thought "Forever and Ever" to be absolutely beautiful and, while I might not play it on heavy rotation in a Tiki Bar, found it important that Martin Denny wrote it and recorded it.

Let me say, too, that your "Bwana, Bwana A" performance at Hukilau was ASTOUNDING!!! Everything else you guys did was great but that song, with the audience participation, drew tears from my eyes.

I cried twice at Hukilau... Once during "Bwana, Bwana A" on Saturday Night, and also during "Chant of the Moon" on Friday Night. Music that makes me Cry is Good Music!


 
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pappythesailor
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 07, 2005
Posts: 1563
From: Mass.
Posted: 2006-05-24 07:10 am   Permalink

*BUMP*

OK, it's been many months. Is there ever going to be a release of that Robert Drasnin concert from the '05 Hukilau? Didn't we even have one Dead Head in the audience that night making bootlegs?


 
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Jeff Central
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 23, 2002
Posts: 1564
From: Columbus, Ohio
Posted: 2006-05-24 07:30 am   Permalink

No! No performance I'm afraid will be available. The recording from the soundboard was missing about half the instruments and the video footage that was shot was very low quality. We tried but it just didn't work out. Voodoo 2 will be performed in it's entirety though next year at Hukilau 2007!!!! Maybe we'll try again.

Cheers and Mahalo,
Jeff


 
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pappythesailor
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 07, 2005
Posts: 1563
From: Mass.
Posted: 2006-05-24 07:44 am   Permalink

I'd still be willing to see the video. I grew up in the boonies before cable TV--I'll watch anything.

 
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