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Early Tiki Music
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 07, 2005
Posts: 1566
From: Mass.
Posted: 2005-11-07 8:19 pm   Permalink

I've been wondering about this for a while but I can't seem to formulate it into just one question so I'll blabber a little.

We all know the soundtrack to Tiki is Exotica but when was that true? and where? Most of the Exotica I've heard was made in the late 50's and early 60's. Obviously Don the Beachcombers didn't feature Exotica. Ditto the Trader's. If I walked into Don's in 1940 (and if you can arrange this, please PM me) what would be playing? My guess would be Hawaiian swing music a la Sol Hoopii or Andy Iona. Maybe a live orchestra.

I've also been trying to remember back to childhood in the 70's. I can't say as I ever remember hearing Exotica played at any of the Polynesian restaurants we went to. If I recall, it was usually (*ack*) "beautiful music", a.k.a muzak that is thankfully extinct now.

Then, there's the Mai Kai, center of the Tiki Universe. They were playing what sounded like contemporary Hawaiian/ Polynesian music when I was lucky enough to be there for the Hukilau. What did they play at the Kahiki? What's playing at the Tiki Ti tonight? What was playing there 25 years ago?

P.S. I don't know what was playing at the Kowloon the other night. I couldn't hear a thing over the football games at the sports bar.

"I can't die until the government finds a safe place to bury my liver."
Phil Harris

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 15, 2003
Posts: 3006
From: San Diego, Ca.
Posted: 2005-11-08 07:18 am   Permalink

Hawaii Calls? Slack Key Guitar? Hawaiian guitar music was very popular on 78s back in the '20s-'30s, but alot were novelty-type recordings.
Rev. Dr. Frederick J. Freelance, Ph.D., Th.D., D.F.S

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Tiki Centralite

Joined: Jun 02, 2002
Posts: 40
From: behind the green door
Posted: 2005-11-09 10:19 am   Permalink

when I used to hang out at the Kahiki they played lot's of Exotica
and some older pop like Don Ho and Dean Martin. but mainly
I heard Martin Denny and Les Baxter.

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uke jackson
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Jun 21, 2005
Posts: 100
Posted: 2005-11-09 8:05 pm   Permalink

that "beautiful music" might have been jack deMello and his orchestra. deMello (real name) did incredibly lush, orchestral arrangements of hawaiian tunes. listening to it today, i find myself transported back to time when everybody's mom looked like mrs cleaver.

deMello was unquestionably the father of muzak, or elevator music, or call it what you will. as the originator, he's worth a listen today. he also has a lot to answer for.

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