This piece was originally published February 10th, 2010.

Tiki Mug Icon #3

Welcome back once again to this, the third installment of The Mystery Box’s Luau Hut: My take on all things from the world of Tiki.

Woonsocket, RI native and guitarist extraordinaire, Duke Robillard, was recently nominated in the Traditional Blues Album category at the 2010 Grammy Awards.

While he didn’t win (this was his second time being nominated!) in a recent interview, Duke humorously took the entire event in stride: As both a great thing to be nominated for an award with so much attention and positive recognition of the music he is making; and being invited to attend the ceremony, with an aisle seat no less, that allowed for a clear view of all the flashy big celebrities to stroll by.

I believe Duke termed the whole experience sort of “ridiculous.”

Duke Robillard is one of those homegrown, self taught musicians that has achieved the mighty.


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CHAINO / KAVA KON: Tiki Exotica Music’s Zombie Bamboos in the Zero Gravity Lounge

This piece was originally published August 31st, 2009

Tiki Mug #2 IconWelcome back to the second installment of The Mystery Box’s Luau Hut: My take on all things from the world of Tiki.

This week I take a look at two new album releases that are both currently residing here under the thatched roof in Tiki-ville HQ.

These albums share similar qualities of what makes Tiki so much fun—a dreamlike fantasy and make believe musical playground world that really doesn’t and never really did exist—just like the best Tiki anything.

These albums are similar enough so that they both sit side by side nicely as companion listening, yet, at the same time these recordings couldn’t be more dissimilar—each arriving from different places within Tiki music’s history.

The first album is a reissue of a 1957 release from a mysterious Tiki Exotica performer of the past named Chaino. The other album is the second release from a modern primitive Detroit duo that call themseleves Kava Kon.

Kirby Allan presents CHAINO: Eye Of The Spectre (Dionysus 2009)



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LUAU HUT PART 1: Chasing the Polynesian Dream…

This piece was originally published June 22nd, 2009

Tiki Mug IconWelcome to a recurring new Mystery Box series: The Mystery Box Luau Hut — my ongoing look at all things from the world and history of Tiki Culture and Exotica music.

Since childhood, like many other fans, I too have fallen under the spell of all things Polynesian themed a.k.a. Tiki.

Never a month goes by that I don’t rekindle that fondness in some way.

So I am happy to report that Tiki style not only manages to still exist (if you seek it out) but also continues to inspire newer artists, designers, and musicians who wish to escape into its dreamy world of imaginary exploration.

First, a look at the origins of this colorful style.


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