Welcome to the Tiki Blog! Tiki Chris Pinto's Tiki Lounge Talk - Tiki Culture & Retro Living, Tiki Talk and Kool Stuff
RSS icon Email icon Home icon
  • Tiki Bar Music Exotica

    Tiki Bar Music

    Now Playing: Swamp Fire by Martin Denny

    Now Playing: Swamp Fire by Martin Denny

    Exotic Riffs To Sip My Mai Tai By
    By Tiki Chris Pinto

    So you’ve got the Tiki Bar set up, the pitcher of Martinis is chilled, the Tiki torches are lit and the hors d’oeuvres are on the monkeywood platter. Now all you need are the guests…and the tunes.

    There are several ways you can go with this. If you expect people will be dancing, a mix of Latin Jazz (Meringue, Cha Cha, Bosa Nova, Salsa), Reggae, and Calypso would probably be best. But for a true Tiki Party experience, you need Exotic Music.

    “Exotica” means just what you think…songs that conjure an atmosphere of tropical rain forests, Tahitian villages, African jungles, Hawaiian luaus. The music was popularized by orchestras in the 50’s and 60’s, mainly lead by Martin Denny, Esquivel, Arthur Lyman, Les Baxter, and Al Caiola.

    Ok, this stuff is a little hard to come by these days. These tracks were cut when records were pressed into vinyl, and when the fad died, the albums were discontinued. Luckily  a few kats hip to the vibe got together in the 90’s and put together a series of CD’s called “Ultra Lounge”. Close to 30 CD albums make up the series, with everything from Martin Denny to Sam Butera. This makes it easy for the Tiki connoisseur to pick and choose the tunes to make the party a gas.

    Here’s a link to Amazon’s list of (I believe) the entire series:
    http://www.amazon.com/Ultra-Lounge-(series)/e/B000AQ3ABK

    I have many of these and can recommend the following:

    Mondo Exotica: True Tiki Bar Music. No disappointments. Put it on repeat and let ’er rip.

    Cocktail Capers: This one mixes Exotic with Jazzy styles and just “out there” 50’s riffs. Mix in with Mondo Exotica for a dash of spice.

    Bachelor Pad Royale: Not Exotic, but definitely 50’s lounge stuff, including Playboy’s Theme by Cy Coleman…a necessity in any lounge collection.

    Wild, Cool & Swinin’:
    Again, not Exotic, but a great compilation of lounge stars of the era including Dean Martin, Sam Butera, Vic Damone, Julie London, Louis Prima and Sammy Davis, Jr.

    Saxaphobia: More crazy 50’s stuff, blaring saxes, too much!

    There are of course a lot more compilations out there, but these will get you by until you hear and learn what you like most. If you have any questions or want some more suggestions, shoot me a line at mack@53chevyhotrod.com.