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Tiki Central Forums » » Tiki Music » » "Similau"
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"Similau"
kick_the_reverb
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Joined: Jul 17, 2002
Posts: 573
From: Originally Israel, now Oceanside, CA
Posted: 2006-06-22 09:39 am   Permalink

And don't confuse them with "The Original Surfaris", a 1st wave band that existed before them, but had to change their name after a court settlement (becasue "Wipeout" was such a huge national hit, the judge ruled in favor of the "Wipeout" Surfaris to keep their name).
Which records do I like better? The Original Surfaris, of course- they wrote "Bombora", "Surfari" and "Moment of Truth".
Ran


 
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bigtikidude
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Joined: Aug 10, 2004
Posts: 8927
From: Anaheim,Ca.
Posted: 2006-06-23 5:16 pm   Permalink

I agree with Ran too, The Original Surfaris from Fullerton/Placentia area were the better band in my opinion.
But the Wipeout Surfaris did have some great songs too.
Point Panic,Scattershield,Dune Buggy,Burnin' Rubber,and a cool vocal song called I'm a Hog for you.

Jeff(bigtikidude)


 
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tikivixen
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Joined: Aug 28, 2002
Posts: 724
From: Vallejo CA
Posted: 2006-07-21 11:14 am   Permalink

Weirdly, Bobby Darin even did a kind of soulful' rockin' version of Similau around 1964.

Sample is here:
http://www.jr.com/JRProductPage.process?Product=3922060&JRSource=nsa&nsa=1





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lemonsqueezer
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Jan 03, 2005
Posts: 91
Posted: 2006-07-25 6:57 pm   Permalink

That's a fantastic version. Exotica fans also appreciate the version of Sallie Blair (from the Squeeze Me LP) My vinyl copy of it is so worn out that I ask if someone has a clean rip Sallie Blairs Similau (192 or higher) to trade /share?



[ This Message was edited by: lemonsqueezer 2006-07-25 19:04 ]


 
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Tiki Chris
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Joined: Mar 24, 2002
Posts: 1543
From: London
Posted: 2006-08-11 09:24 am   Permalink

Recently, I've been in contact with the daughter of Similau songwriter Arden Clar. Here's what she has to say:

Funny. My father wrote Similau and I was just humming it and decided to google it and found your query. He always told us that it was 'the god of fertility', hence, the lyrics..... My father's name was Arden Clar.

... he always said that it was the voodoo god of fertility. And there does exist an album called 'Voodoo'. Did you ever hear his rendition of Similau on the piano? Very, very beautful. Melodic and melancholy. He was a wonderful pianist. So glad you've enjoyed it. I'll pass your note on to my sibs!


Gotta love the internet,
Tiki Chris

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[ This Message was edited by: Tiki Chris 2006-08-12 07:46 ]


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bigtikidude
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Joined: Aug 10, 2004
Posts: 8927
From: Anaheim,Ca.
Posted: 2006-08-12 12:40 am   Permalink

too cool man.
Jeff(bigtikidude)


 
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lemonsqueezer
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Joined: Jan 03, 2005
Posts: 91
Posted: 2006-08-12 07:40 am   Permalink

Thanks a lot for forwarding this first hand info!

 
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lemonsqueezer
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Jan 03, 2005
Posts: 91
Posted: 2006-08-13 7:02 pm   Permalink

Btw. Can you ask her more about that 'Voodoo' album? Was that an Lp by Arden Clar? (including his piano version?) Or was that an LP that does give him inspiration? Who did record that Lp, What is on that LP?

 
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Wavy77
Member

Joined: Nov 17, 2006
Posts: 1
Posted: 2006-11-17 1:31 pm   Permalink

I just searched on Similau on the net, and then I came across this discussion. It`s too cool, cause I`ve gotten a little "Similau-fever" the last couple of days, and I even recorded my own rough demo version of it, by multi-tracking guitars and singing. I even tried to imitate some bird-whistling there for the good measure.

I`ll present it for my band when we rehearse on sunday, and I want to try to make some kind of ultimate version of with all the best from the different versions.

We`re an instrumental surf-band, but a lot of the exotica/jazz-pop-versions out there have some elements of it that I`d like to keep as well. I even think we should do it vocally, cause the melody is so extremely haunting. I just tried to sing on top of the Surfaris-version, and it made a great melodic up-tempo rock`n`roll song that would`ve cut it on the charts instantly...

Now the thing that I really like about the Surfaris-version is the chord changes in the "Spirit in the wood in he hallow cane. Echo in the afterglow"-part, because they keep it a little more simple, and it allows the hauntingness to grow a little more on you that way (They go straight F#m-E-F#m-Bm instead of putting some more chords in there that exists on most versions).

Ok, I`ll stop my rant right there. This is an old discussion anyway...


 
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lemonsqueezer
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Jan 03, 2005
Posts: 91
Posted: 2007-04-16 6:56 pm   Permalink

I just did get this massage, and thought that this info is interesting for all similau fans so I forward it:

.....

My sister directed me to the Tiki Central posts regarding our father's song Similau and I noticed your question regarding the Voodoo album. Not sure if you ever got a reply. The album was recorded by the Richard Hayman Orchestra. Our dad wrote all the music on the album.

Other compositions that he had written over the years that were popular were "Port of Spain" and "Jade". He also wrote a title song called "Once" for an early Stanley Kubric film titled "Killer's Kiss".

Thanks for keeping it alive!

One of the sibs
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Asha'man
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Joined: May 16, 2007
Posts: 5
Posted: 2007-05-16 1:10 pm   Permalink

I just Googled my dad's name (Arden Clar) and found your posts about Similau. I am another one of the sibs (one of the sons). Sounds like you have been in contact with my older sisters.

Dad did say that Similau was about the Voodoo god of fertility. We had a discussion once on how in his day you had to disguise the meaning of lyrics that referred to sex or love making and that today (early 70's) you could come right out and say it. We were discussing Simon and Garfunkel's "Cecilia" and the lyric "making love in the afternoon, with Cecilia, up in my bedroom".

Regarding the Voodoo Album, of which I have a copy, I recall him joking in a taped interview that he and Richard Hayman had an agreement, dad would give him half of his music if Richard would give dad half the album. By the way, one of the songs on the Voodoo album was named after my oldest sister. It is called "The Spell of Deatra".

Dad also has a film credit as an actor. He appears briefly in a very bad crime drama called Okefenokee. He is the piano player in the bar about halfway through the film. I think he is there for all of 20 seconds and you never get a good look at his face. He is also credited with writing music for the movie.

I hope this will add to your enjoyment of my father's music.


 
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Asha'man
Member

Joined: May 16, 2007
Posts: 5
Posted: 2007-05-16 2:11 pm   Permalink

I just got through looking at the EMI Music Publishing web site. According to their listings dad (Arden Clar) is listed as one of the writers, along with Richard Hayman, on the following songs from the Voodoo album:

Afro
Dance Calinda
Gris Gris
Haiti
Invocation
Midnight Ritual
Spell of Deatra
Voodoo
Zombi

One of the sibs.


 
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Similau
Member

Joined: Dec 20, 2008
Posts: 2
Posted: 2008-12-20 04:52 am   Permalink

I just found these comments about the song "Similau." I'm coming a little late to the discussion, but better late than never! This is song that I like a lot, and for that reason I've done a lot of searching. This is what I've found so far.

The song was probably inspired by a voodoo chant dedicated to the spirit Similó. (When transcribed to English, "Similó" was turned into "Similau." Also, in the transcribed lyrics, the part that says "I, Similau" should read "aye" instead of "I.")

Similó is said to belong to the Petro family of spirits, which have a reputation for being aggressive, for loving blood, and for eating human beings. Not the nicest spirits! But they can heal and protect those who invoke them. They are generally described as "supernatural magicians."

There's one account that mentions a manifestation of Similó in the shape of a goat, in the act of eating human body parts. I don't know if Similó had a specific area of expertise, but it sure makes sense to think that he (or she?) was related to fertility, given the song's lyrics.

We can safely say that the chant originated in the Caribbean. Voodoo is a Haitian religious system, developed from African traditions brought by slaves the islands. Besides voodoo in Haiti, there is the related religion known as santería, practiced in Cuba, and to a much lesser extent in Puerto Rico. It's very likely that Similó is also one of the saints and spirits that are invoked by santeros.

Back to the song as we know it.

The songwriter who originally wrote "Similau" was Leopoldo González. Then a gentleman by the name of Harry Coleman wrote (or translated?) the lyrics in (into?) English. And, as we already know, the music is credited to Clar Arden. The song has a 1948 copyright. Many internet sites do not mention González, which is wrong. He's officially credited as co-author.

I haven't been able to find out much about Leopoldo González. The little I found out calls him either Puerto Rican or "Puerto Rican by adoption." He is credited with writing one or two famous Spanish songs about Puerto Rico. In the 1950's, he was a pianist and also the producer of Verne Records, a Latin record label with offices in New York. My guess is that he was acquainted with the voodoo chant, and, based on that chant, he wrote the original, Spanish version of the song.

There's at least one version with the original Spanish lyrics. It's by Desi Arnaz (who was Cuban-born, of course, and had a Latin-flavored orchestra before he became famous on TV). He recorded that version in 1949. He also recorded the song in English, both in 1949 and in 1951. I've heard only the 1951 English version. There also a Peggy Lee CD in which he is her guest on an episode of her radio show, in 1951. He sings "Similau." (He also sings a duet with Lee, but it's not "Similau.")

I don't know which was the original version in English. Most likely, there were various competing versions, out around the same time. The one by Edmund Ros is from either 1948 or 1949. Others from 1949 are by Gene Krupa, Ray McKinley, Ray Anthony, Artie Shaw, and Jimmy Dorsey. Some of those are instrumentals, with no vocal.

But the most important by far is Peggy Lee's. She had the hit version - a top 20, in April of 1949. This Peggy Lee recording is very exotica-sounding, especially the jungle sounds in the intro, and in other parts of the osng. There is also a short, wordless interlude, in which the drums get very loud, while Peggy chants "ayeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee." (Four drummers play in her version.) Of the later, post-40's versions, the one by Bobby Darin was probably inspired by Peggy's, because he was a friend and fan of hers.

I've heard the aforementioned version by Sallie Blair, and I like it a lot, too. Yet another version by a female singer is by Caterina Valente.


 
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Digitiki
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Joined: Jul 22, 2004
Posts: 754
From: L.A. baby!
Posted: 2008-12-20 09:34 am   Permalink

Similau,
Thanks so much for the detailed background on that song!! I too am an admirer of the tune. I, like most people, was introduced to the song on "I Love Lucy" in a episode where Ricky sings it in a dark nightclub.
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Similau
Member

Joined: Dec 20, 2008
Posts: 2
Posted: 2008-12-21 4:30 pm   Permalink

Oh, thank you for being so kind, Digitiki. I had fun writing that. It was all bits and pieces that I had learned little by little. So it was great to have the opportunity to put the bits together in some sort of order!

 
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