Skinny Dip into the Exotic with Don Tiki

Feb 15, 2016

Violetta Beretta in the "Hula Girl Lamp" costume.
Credit Don Tiki
Perry Coma, Dancer/Vocalist Violetta Beretta and Fluid Floyd

“Exotica” is a style of music pioneered in the late 50’s by artists like Martin Denny and Les Baxter giving birth to a style called “Tiki”.  For people outside the islands – the style painted a picture of what a tropical paradise could be.  Cocktails decorated with tiny umbrellas inside ceramic tiki mugs were paired with breezy jazz marked with an occasional bird call.

Founded in the late 90’s - Don Tiki has carried on the tradition of the late Martin Denny.  Their stage show mixes their unique take on Exotica with dancing hula girl lamps, south pacific drumming, and the vocals of Starr Kalahiki.  Five albums and multiple international tours have established them as one of the most recognizable acts in the genre.

We sat down with founders Lloyd "Fluid Floyd” Kandell, Kit “Perry Coma" Ebersbach, and dancer Violetta Beretta to explore the history, and culture behind Don Tiki. 

   Don Tiki performs tomorrow through Thursday at the Blue Note Hawai‘i.

Watch: An in-flight feature produced for Hawaiian Airlines by Laird Christianson Advertising, with the late Delmar DeWilde.