Reviews, Testimonials & Feature Articles:
- From the Boston Globe, 4 March 2005 Waitiki is different from other bands … by all accounts it’s one of two ensembles in the world that still performs exotica, which was named after a 1957 album by Martin Denny and is best described — and not well at all — as an island-flavored blend of drums, marimbas, birdcalls, and woodwinds. Or that Waitiki shows have been known to include kung fu and watermelons. The members of the Boston-based ensemble are on a mission to create a Polynesian experience that goes beyond the ears. Formed in 2003 by Randy Wong, a bassist, and drummer Abe Lagrimas Jr., who moved to Boston to study, respectively, at the New England Conservatory and Berklee College of Music, Waitiki wants to transport an audience as far away from Boston (or Pittsburgh or Newport) as they can get without buying a plane ticket. Read Joan Anderman’s full article at boston.com or download the pdf here.
- From the Boston Herald, 4 March 2005 Here’s a combination that will melt the icicles in any New Englander’s brain: Polynesian drums, grass-skirted singers, groovy rhythms courtesy of lounge music hero Juan Garcia Esquivel, and the tiki-torch exclamation point – a full tropical drink list. That should thaw visitors to the Lizard Lounge tonight when the 19-piece Waitiki Orchestrotica performs the exotica music of Hawaii and the “space-age bachelor pad'” sounds of Esquivel … Waitiki got its start two years ago after Hawaii natives-turned-Boston transplants Randy Wong and Abe Lagrimas Jr. decided to form a band that would update one of the island’s most famous musical exports: the bright, breezy sound that got its name from Martin Denny’s album “Exotica” … Read Bob Young’s full article or download the pdf here.
- From the Boston Globe, 5 March 2004 “…And if you need something more exotic, the group Waitiki offers a night of traditional Hawaiian music mixed with jazz at the Lizard Lounge tomorrow.” Read more in Rock Picks by Steve Morse.
- From The Lowell Sun, 3 February 2004 “…Hawaii is big on the spirit of “ho’okipa” (to entertain)…The high-energy WAITIKI Band was afire with irresistible music, the hibachis merrily cooked away with exotic delicacies and the drinks table offered gorgeous refreshers… Randy Wong and Abe Lagrimas in lava lava outfits guided the Waitiki crew with lots of ukuleles, gongs, African percussion and Hawaiian exotica, added to bass, saxophone and vibes. They were a huge success…”
- From The Honolulu Weekly, 1 October 2003 “…Forty-four years since Martin Denny hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for 13 weeks (he remains the only Hawai’i-based musician to climb that high) with the iconic album Quiet Village, he’s still influencing people. The degrees of separation are few. The late Arthur Lyman, that other earl of exotica, got his start in Denny’s band. Now a Lyman protégé, Randy Wong, is the cofounder and bassist of WAITIKI, a band spreading the tenets of tiki in Boston where Wong is getting his master’s in arts education at Harvard. His bandmate is wunderkind drummer Abe Lagrimas, a Waipahu boy who performed with Don Tiki before moving to Boston to attend the Berklee College of Music….” Full story available at www.honoluluweekly.com
- Read about my memories of Exotica’s legendary vibraphonist, Arthur Lyman at www.arthurlyman.com.
Akamai Brain Collective Articles & CDReviews!
- From the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 5 March 2004 “The Akamai Brain Collective consists of three former islanders now studying music in New England. Abe Lagrimas Jr. plays most of the instruments and handles the vocals, Randy Wong is the bassist and Eric Lagrimas is the engineer/ producer, but adds a few music tracks as well. All three write, and their work suggests that they grew up listening to Pure Heart, Audy Kimura, Martin Denny, Ohta-san, Daniel Ho and possibly Chopin as well…” Read more in John Berger’s Island Mele column …
- From the Honolulu Advertiser, 15 February 2004 “Three Island pals went to Boston to college to study music — but also jammed on the side. The Akamai Brain Collective is one of the results, a collaboration of Abe Lagrimas, Eric Lagrimas and Randy Wong. The music is original, with obvious Island riffs (‘ukulele, guitar, bongos, marimbas), with reflections of Island life (“Pineapple Bug,” “Island Smile”) that can be visualized even without words. One vocal, “Miles,” is one of those yearnings from across the sea, delivered with tenderness …” Read more in Wayne Harada’s Island Sounds column …
- From AA Rising, February 2004 issue “…Musically, the album is a fun toe-tapping group of songs … the listener may have to pick and choose favorites but there is something for everyone to choose. ” Read more at the AA Rising website.
- From the Boston Herald, 03 February 2004 “Tropical Trio: Clad in Hawaiian shirts, the Akamai Brain Collective’s Eric Lagrimas, Abraham Lagrimas Jr. and Randy Wong played jazz fusion at ‘Go Hawaiian on Family Day’ at the American Textile History Museum in Lowell.” Check out the PDF here! (2.2MB)
FEATURE ARTICLE: “Beethoven By Day, Tiki By Night”
- From The Appian, 27 October 2003 “While many at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) see their future careers taking place within a school building as teachers or administrators, Randy Wong sees himself on stage. This laid-back, 22 year-old Hawaii-born student in the Arts and Education program wants to play the classical bass, discovering ways to learn and teach through music…” Read more at www.theappian.org or download a .pdf version [68kb].
- From the Iolani Bulletin, Spring 2004 “Randy Wong has just released the CD Akamai Brain Collective with partners Eric Lagrimas and Abe Lagrimas Jr. Randy received a Bachelor of Music degree from New England Conservatory of Music…”
- Read more here, in a pdf version of this document.
- From the Iolani Bulletin, Winter 2004 “Randy Wong graduated with honors from the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, last spring with a degree in classical double bass performance. Since then, he’s been keeping himself busy with numerous performance and recording projects, including the trio AKAMAI BRAIN COLLECTIVE (ABC), a progressive Hawaiian jam band releasing its first CD in early December, and WAITIKI, a Bostonbased exotica show band in the style of Don Tiki and Martin Denny…”
- Read more here, in a pdf version of this document.
- From The Appian, 27 October 2003 “Two students in the Arts in Education program, Tonja King and Randy Wong, offered a performance piece consisting of an original vocal and musical arrangement. Wong played the oboe [sic] in accompaniment to King’s spoken and musical rendition … Randy played to Tonja’s vocal renditions with a mixture of jazz-influenced improvisations and several classical musical references …” Read at www.theappian.org, or download a PDF here.