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EXOTICA!

Exotica is the kind of space age pop that sounds like music from distant places, but really adapts traditional Western melodies to selective instrumentations and rhythms which are associated with those places. Mainly it is restricted to adaptations of music from South Pacific islands, Polynesia, Africa, the Mideast, some Carribean islands, Peru. It would not include Cuban, Mexican or a great deal of South American musical elements, which are included under another Space Age Pop genre: Latin Big Band.
Mark Ryden's painting for The Exotica Moods of Les Baxter (Capitol CDP 37025)
Sometimes a few novel touches are included which are original and do not come from native music. These additions are an attempt to turn into music what is essentially a visual or atmospheric element from the particular distant locale. Martin Denny, for instance, is popularly known for his adaptations of already exotic Les Baxter compositions. By adding birdcalls, something not from traditional Polynesian music, he added even more exotic content. Something about birdcalls makes a listener think of lush tropical islands.

Here are some artistes which are best known for producing exotica:

Picture: Les Baxter

Les Baxter

Picture: Martin Denny

Martin Denny

Ted Auletta

Robert Drasnin

Arthur Lyman

George Cates

Picture: Leo Addeo

Leo Addeo

Edmundo Ros

Picture: Stanley Black

Stanley Black

Eden Ahbez

Diamond Head Beachcombers

The Outriggers

Billy Mure

Werner Muller

Picture: Buddy Merrill

Buddy Merrill

Les Paul

Joe Maize

Mauna Loa Islanders

Picture: Henry Mancini

Henry Mancini

Milt Raskin

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