Mahalo Nomads & Beachcombers, Castaways, Drifters & Dreamers...

Face Beside the Fire is a forbidden island in the mind where conformity and dogma receive no neural berth.

Here the frenetic pace of modern life is but a distant memory and the natural world beckons you to indulge the primitive, the sensuous and sublime.

It is a place as timeless as infinity and infinite as imagination.

28 June 2011

WITCO Zebra Mood Light from the early 70's

Last summer Dr. Atomica was inspired to restore this fabulous example of WITCO Tiki Exotica.

What say you of the finished piece?

07 November 2008

Yma Sumac, 1922-2008

Sadly a great voice has been silenced by the inevitable march of time... The great Peruvian diva and songstress Yma Sumac left the material world last week.

Her spirit and music will live on in the hearts and minds of the many people she has touched.

R.I.P., Zoila Emperatriz Chavarri del Castillo.

07 October 2008

Lap Steel Magic from GeorgeBoards

Paradise Isles

I recently purchased an instrument from Maestro Boards. Next time you're in the market for a lap steel be sure to look him up. You can link to his site from the Beyond the Reef section below.

02 October 2008

Ana Lani & Ray Kinney

Hawaiian Hula Song w/Steel Guitar

19 September 2008


"Tarzan the Ape Man" debuted in 1932 and was a huge hit. Filmed in various Los Angeles locations and at Crystal Springs, Florida (with a great deal of authentic African footage that had been shot for the earlier movie "Trader Horn"), "Tarzan the Ape Man" gave depression weary movie goers a unique form of escapist entertainment.

And even though Tarzan didn't talk much, Weissmuller did come up with one of the most memorable sounds to emerge from cinema: The famous Tarzan yell.

Suddenly Burroughs' "victory cry of the bull ape" was given form, and kids across America were now hanging from trees and yelling at the tops of their lungs.

The Tarzan Yell

The Suffering Bastard

3 ounces orange curacao
1.5 ounces rock candy syrup
1.5 ounces orgeat syrup
2 ounces light Puerto Rican Rum
4 ounces St. James rhum
lengthwise strip of cucumber peel
2 limes (cut and juiced)

Cut limes and squeeze juice into a shaker containing shaved iced dumped in from one Suffering bastard mug; save one lime shell. Add booze and mixers. Hand shake. Dump without straining into mug and decorate with cucumber peel, lime shell, fresh mint and a fruit stick.

24 August 2008

The Legend of Yma Sumac

Yma Sumac, the five-octave Diva of Exotica, was born Zoila Emperatriz Chavarri del Castillo in 1922 in Inchocan, Peru.

Sumac began performing on radio in Peru in her early teens. Bandleader and composer Moises Vivianco discovered her and began promoting her throughout South America. In 1947, Vivianco and Sumac married and moved to New York City. She performed with Vivianco's combo, Conjunto Folklorica Peruano, until she was contracted by Capitol Records in 1950.

Sumac made a series of records on the Capitol Records label mostly singing exotic Hollywood versions of Incan and South American folk songs.

The combination of Sumac's extraordinary voice, her exotic, mysterious looks, and her stage personality made her a great hit for American audiences. During the height of her popularity, she appeared in the films Secret of the Incas and Omar Khayam.

Sumac has remained mostly out of the limelight since the late 1950s, performing intermittently. She did record a complete album, "Miracles," a Rock "tour de force" in 1971, as well as one cut on Hal Wilner's tribute to Disney music, "Stay Awake," in 1991. - from wikipedia

Yma Sumac performs Chuncho

Taita Inti (Virgin of the Sun God) - from The Voice of Xtabay LP

Accla Taqui - The Voice Of Xtabay LP

Ataypura - The Voice Of Xtabay LP

Xtabay - The Voice Of Xtabay LP

Remember - from the Miracles LP circa 1970

Flame Tree - from the Miracles LP circa 1970

17 August 2008

Face Beside The Fire

"For this dream of being awake suddenly was more urgent that the condition of actually being awake. He felt like an explorer who had at last walked into the true unknown and found that the treasure of discovery was the realization that true awareness needs not only the fact, but also the dream of the fact: these are the two vital ends to the journey between."
- from
The Face Beside the Fire, 1953

Face Beside the Fire - from the Savage & the Sensuous
Bongos album by Don Ralke circa 1960

Voodoo Virgin featuring Almita

15 August 2008

Les Baxter, 1922 -1996

Wherever exotica went, Les Baxter was there, often leading the way. His work for Capitol Records in the 1950s introduced most of the major movements in exotica. His 1950 album, "Music Out of the Moon," featured the theremin and was probably the best-selling theremin album of all time--and also founded the "space" school of exotica.

In 1951, he did the same for the "jungle" school of exotica with his landmark "Ritual of the Savage" LP, for which he wrote the theme song of exotica: "Quiet Village." He crested the European cover wave with his only number one hit, "Poor People of Paris," in 1956. He produced and wrote most of the first album by the four-octave Peruvian songstress, Yma Sumac, "Voice of the Xtabay" (I've always wondered if "Xtabay" was pig Latin for "Baxter"). And he can be credited with anticipating the percussion school with his all-drums album, "Skins! Bongo Party with Les Baxter." – from

Moon Moods - from Music Out Of the Moon

Radar Blues - from Music Out Of The Moon

Oasis of Dakhla - from Tamboo

14 August 2008


Hand Carved WITCO Decor... the mark of distinction

Since the beginning the powerful pull of wood has existed in its warmth to the eye and hand. WITCO Decor with hand carved, crafted wood, tempered by fire and polished glowing smooth speaks out strongly to be investigated... romantic, sophisticated, functional and decorative, a rare blend.

WITCO Decor compliments existing interior furnishings and styling while offering many exterior applications as well.

WITCO Decor creates an immediately interesting and unusual atmosphere, either individually displayed or collectively grouped.

WITCO Decor is truly "Conversational Piece Designed."

WITCO Decor influence is especially desirable for special decor application areas, such as foyer, patio, family or recreation rooms, den, bar, office, club, poolside, gardens, week-end homes, etc.

WITCO DECOR has been nationally acclaimed as the originator of the newest concept for successful decor pieces. The wedding of creative design, old world craftsman techniques, genuine wood and realistic pricing creates the most successful and refreshing line of decor available to the individual customer.

Here at WITCO the end of the day sees a passing parade of similar, but never two-of-a-kind pieces . . . our unique trademark that is reflected in three hundred handmade decor pieces of the WITCO line.

Characteristics and care of your WITCO Decor

Made of solid wood, our product is impervious to most destruction forces. Yet within itself is an inherent factor for mild checking or opening of grain due to moisture content and climate environment.

With the burnt dark finish the checking will expose itself as a showing of internal "White wood." By darkening this "White wood" with dark walnut stain or a can of flat black spray paint and rubbing smooth will tend to enhance rather than detract from the piece. This also applies to minor scratches and abrasions.

Periodic applications of wax with a soft cloth will maintain the rich sheen.

Contact your local WITCO dealer for a showing of WITCO Decor in depth.

WITCO Decor/Mt. Vernon, Washington

10 August 2008

Martin Denny, 1911- 2005

The man who brought the name "exotica" to this genre. The King of the Tiki Hut. Denny not only brought exotica its biggest hit of all time with his #2 single of Les Baxter's "Quiet Village,", he gave two other key figures in exotica--Arthur Lyman and Julius Wechter--their starts, and influenced several generations of lounge performers.

So mix yourself a Mai Tai, drop a little umbrella into your glass, kick off your shoes, and put a Martin Denny album on the turntable and take a trip to the Hawaii of your mind. Aloha! - from

Aku Aku - from Afro-Desia

17 July 2008

An Elixir to Calm the Savage Beast

"Careful man, there's a beverage here"
- Jeff "the Dude" Lebowski
"I originated and have served this thing since 1934... Anyone that says otherwise is a liar!"
- Donn Beach (aka Don the Beachcomber)

Zombie Punch
From 1937 notebook of Beachcomber's waiter Dick Santiago - decoded by Jeff Berry in "Sippin' Safari". This is apparently the original version of the drink, although Donn would later modify it over time.

3/4 oz. lime juice
1/2 oz. Don's Mix
1/2 oz Falernum
1 1/2 oz. Lowndes Jamaican rum
1 1/2 oz. gold Puerto Rican rum
1 oz. 151-proof Demerara rum
Dash Angostura bitters
6 drops Hersaint or Pernod
1 tsp. Grenadine
6 oz. crushed ice

Put all into blender, with ice last. Blend for five seconds. Pour into glass and garnish with mint sprig. NOTE: Don's mix is 2 parts grapefruit juice, 1 part cinnamon-infused sugar syrup

17 April 2008

One of Natures Boys

"I am the wind, the sea, the evening star, I am every one, any one, no one." - eden ahbez
eden ahbez (April 15, 1908 – March 4, 1995), born George Alexander Aberle in Brooklyn, New York and adopted by a Kansas family and raised under the name George McGrew, was a songwriter and recording artist from the 1940s-1960s, whose lifestyle in California was influential on the hippie movement. He was known to his friends as "ahbe" and he refused to use capital letters to spell his name.

In 1947 Eden published Nature Boy. The song tells a fantasy of a "strange enchanted boy... who wandered very far" only to learn that "the greatest thing... was just to love and be loved in return".

The content of the song is based on a 1940s Los Angeles-based group of beatniks called "Nature Boys", of which Ahbez himself was part of. They wore long hair and beards, maintaining vegetarian diets and living according to Nature’s Laws.

Ahbez lived a bucolic life. From at least as early as the 1940s, he traveled in sandals and wore shoulder-length hair and beard, and white robes. He camped out below the first L in the Hollywood sign above Los Angeles, studied Oriental mysticism, and claimed to live on three dollars a week, sleeping outdoors with his family, and eating vegetables, fruits, and nuts.

For further reading and contemplation try Gordon Kennedy's excellent book "Children of the Sun".

Full Moon - from Edens Island

The Wanderer - from Edens Island

Edens 1948 Hit "Nature Boy" performed by Nat King Cole