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Tiki Central Forums » » Tiki Music » » Sven's The SOUND of TIKI CD -preview and discussion
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Sven's The SOUND of TIKI CD -preview and discussion
bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11130
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2009-11-02 11:47 am   Permalink

Aloh to all music lovers. I am just finishing up the booklet to my CD compilation that is being published by, ironically, a German label. It will have 17 tracks relating to Tiki culture and a 48 page booklet full of images in it (sort of a mini Book of Tiki). When I say songs relating to Tiki culture, I mean by name, or concept, so it will contain titles like Martin Denny's "Aku Aku" and "Tiki", and songs like "Bali Hai" and "Castaway".

Right now I am facing a conundrum: In order to define the "Sound" of Tiki, I came up with this map, inspired by the Polynesian triangle, and beautifully rendered by Kevin Kidney:



I wanted to show the different musical genres that contribute to the "Tiki Sound", but make clear that Exotica really is the core of it. So obviously, the CD will be heavy on Exotica, but have some lounge, and only a few Hapa Haole and Surf-sounding titles in it.

Problem is, I only found two elektro guitar titles that I liked and that related to Tiki, and both are from non-surf bands: "Kon Tiki" by The Shadows, and "Hawaii 5.0" by The Ventures. I am aware that technically these guys were known as "Guitar Rock" bands.

Here's my question: Can I get away with (and I mean just "GET WAY WITH"!) putting these two songs in the "Surf" bag, since they were played by Surf bands too, or would it be just plain wrong to do so!?

I already talked to Jeff Bigtikidude about the Shadows, but him and all others are invited to give me their view of the subject, Mahalo!


[ This Message was edited by: bigbrotiki 2009-11-02 11:55 ]


 
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Jeff Central
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 23, 2002
Posts: 1578
From: Columbus, Ohio
Posted: 2009-11-02 12:12 pm   Permalink

The Ventures and The Shadows are both classic examples of surf rock. Both bands were more popular overseas than in the US but their influences can be heard around the world!

They should round out your compilation nicely.

Good luck with your project Sven!!

Cheers and Mahalo,
Jeff


 
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Sabu The Coconut Boy
Tiki Central Poet Laureate

Joined: Aug 20, 2002
Posts: 2792
From: Carson, California
Posted: 2009-11-02 12:19 pm   Permalink

As a layman, I'd be inclined to let them pass too. Both the Ventures and the Shadows are sorted into my "surf records" shelf in my record cabinets, (along with my hot-rod lps), and I always assumed they were part of the genre. Talking to surf-music experts in recent years, I now understand the distinctions, but I don't think the average person does.


 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11130
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2009-11-02 12:24 pm   Permalink

Thanks guys, I am relieved. Problem is I count such Surf music experts as Domenic Priore and BigTikiDude among my friends, I worry they will KILL me if I muddle up their fave genre!

 
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nature boy
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Apr 02, 2008
Posts: 69
From: Timonium, Maryland
Posted: 2009-11-02 12:25 pm   Permalink

The Shadows and The Ventures HIGHLY influenced the 1st generation of surf musicians, but are not actually considered surf. Kind of like poly-pop is to tiki, close but not really. I wouldn't use Hawaii 5-0 because like the show, the song is not really tiki.

It seems like you are matching song titles to Tiki rather than the sound. If you want a really Tiki/Exotica sounding surf song listen to "Adventures in Paradise" by The Atlantics. It's a good mix of exotica and surf.

I'll try and think of some more suggestions and post later tonight. I have to run.



 
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The Granite Tiki
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Joined: Jul 02, 2005
Posts: 812
From: Nashua, NH
Posted: 2009-11-02 12:39 pm   Permalink

I faced a similar decision with my band's set list.

Since I advertise us as "Exotica, Hapa Haole, and Surf" and there was already plenty of Surf music being represented at "OHANA" (the gig we were playing) and we have horns, the song I went with to include some surf was "Hawaii 5O"

So obviously I think it's okay.

I'm beginning to wonder why Slack Key Guitar music is never even considered. I know the general theory is that it's much more Hawaiian than Tiki, but an argument could be made that Surf is more California Beach than Tiki. I always like to make a bigger case for Hapa Haole as well, since I bet it was played in home Tiki Bars as much or more than Exotica. Sorry if this is all off topic.

So all that aside, and back to the point, I think it's the song itself that matters, especially on a compilation album, not the performers. And those songs you chose to represent Surf certainly ARE Tiki Surf.


 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11130
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2009-11-02 1:02 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2009-11-02 12:25, nature boy wrote:
The Shadows and The Ventures HIGHLY influenced the 1st generation of surf musicians, but are not actually considered surf. Kind of like poly-pop is to tiki, close but not really. I wouldn't use Hawaii 5-0 because like the show, the song is not really tiki.



I am using it tongue-in-cheek, the version I feature is SUNG... by DON HO! My liner notes (which will bring me lotsa gripes by Don Ho fans!) will hopefully explain:

>>Stylistically, Don Ho is to Tiki style what the 70s Elvis is to Rock ’n’ Roll: Part of the whole phenomenon, yet a sign of its end being near.
Similarly, when compared to “Hawaiian Eye”, “Hawaii 5.0” was a post-Tiki television series: Instead of being produced on the mainland, it was shot on location in high-rise Waikiki, aiming for contemporary realism and shunning outdated Hawaiian clichés such as Tikis, which rarely played a part here.<<


Quote:

It seems like you are matching song titles to Tiki rather than the sound. If you want a really Tiki/Exotica sounding surf song listen to "Adventures in Paradise" by The Atlantics. It's a good mix of exotica and surf.



Good one! I already wanted to use a version of "Adventures..." on the next CD. IF there will be one...


 
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lucas vigor
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 12, 2004
Posts: 3985
From: SOCAL
Posted: 2009-11-02 1:18 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2009-11-02 12:39, The Granite Tiki wrote:
I faced a similar decision with my band's set list.

Since I advertise us as "Exotica, Hapa Haole, and Surf" and there was already plenty of Surf music being represented at "OHANA" (the gig we were playing) and we have horns, the song I went with to include some surf was "Hawaii 5O"

So obviously I think it's okay.

I'm beginning to wonder why Slack Key Guitar music is never even considered. I know the general theory is that it's much more Hawaiian than Tiki, but an argument could be made that Surf is more California Beach than Tiki. I always like to make a bigger case for Hapa Haole as well, since I bet it was played in home Tiki Bars as much or more than Exotica. Sorry if this is all off topic.

So all that aside, and back to the point, I think it's the song itself that matters, especially on a compilation album, not the performers. And those songs you chose to represent Surf certainly ARE Tiki Surf.



I actually think that Hapa haole is the main music of tiki. (Of course, I am biased when it comes to that statement). But if you look at the classic polynesian style restaurants here in the continental U.S., it was probably a hapa haole band with some polynesian drumming and a floor show with hula dancers you would have seen, back in the day.

Of course, my first experience was disneyland Tahitian terrace, so I base my opinion on that.

I am just glad, however, that Hapa haole is being included in this CD!

As far as slack key, I have never really thought it fits the "tiki" scene, but certainly my band plays a couple of slack key type songs. It's just not the first thing I think of when I think of "tiki". To me, the emphasis is on the "pop" of "poly-pop", and back in the 50's pop was jazz based music. Slack key has no jazz elements, whereas exotica and hapa haole does to.

As for Surf, I think it's just the elements of the artwork, album covers, themes, and the fact that surfing has always been a part of Hawaii, waikiki, and the hollywood version of Hawaii. Greg Brady surfed without his tiki, and look what happened to him!!!!!


 
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Kaiwaza
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Joined: Aug 06, 2003
Posts: 461
From: Waikiki Beach, Hawaii
Posted: 2009-11-02 1:43 pm   Permalink

Well, now, Don Ho's fabulous sung version of "Hawaii Five-O" is COMPLETELY appropriate. How could there be any doubt? His sung version of "Quiet Village" is awesome as well..

 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11130
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2009-11-02 1:44 pm   Permalink

Well, Hapa Haole is certainly Polynesian pop, but more Hawaiiana and pre-Tiki. Yet, if the wave of Hawaiian music would not have hit the U.S. in the 1910s and 20s like it did, the first Bamboo hideaways would have never been built.

And the truth is that Hapa Haole probably got more play in Tiki joints in the form of live bands and floor shows than Exotica did -which only in retrospect has been identified as THE perfect musical form for a Tiki environment. But the spirit of Exotica, (and its success which time period-wise paralleled the rise of Tiki culture), is all TIKI!

Hate to tell you Lucas, but Hapa Hale is only represented by Paul Page (in two songs) and one by The Surfers. Both not exactly "pure" examples of the genre, but pertaining to my concept. Bernie Kaye Lewis' guitar on the Paul Page pieces really is what makes them that.

All in all this compilation is a subjective view of what I see makes up the Sound of Tiki.


 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11130
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2009-11-02 1:51 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2009-11-02 13:43, Kaiwaza wrote:
Well, now, Don Ho's fabulous sung version of "Hawaii Five-O" is COMPLETELY appropriate. How could there be any doubt? His sung version of "Quiet Village" is awesome as well..



That's the medley on my compilation, at the end, "Hawaii 5.0" and "Quiet Village" sung by Don Ho.
I tried to put the compilation together with the serious Exotica collector in mind, so I covered some of the standards, but in off-beat versions. Who here has heard the "Hawaiian Eye" version by Buddy Morrow? (I bet YOU have, Kaiwaza )


 
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lucas vigor
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 12, 2004
Posts: 3985
From: SOCAL
Posted: 2009-11-02 1:53 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2009-11-02 13:44, bigbrotiki wrote:
. But the spirit of Exotica, (and its success which time period-wise paralleled the rise of Tiki culture), is all TIKI!



Very true. That it was it has come to be. For me as well, because as soon as I hear bird calls and the sound of vibes, "tiki bar" is what immediately comes to mind. With Hapa haole, what comes to mind is a vacation in waikiki during the 60's. But, my disclaimer is that I really don't like the old, very early hapa haole recordings much...I prefer the slick, produced versions (Like the Tavares band) that came a bit later, in stereo.

I would have to say Hapa haole is my first love, followed VERY closely by exotica. But, as I have said before my first record album I listened to as a small 5 year old kid was Arthur Lyman, "taboo". I was indoctrinated into tiki a long time ago! Your book and some of the people on this forum just pushed me over the edge and now I am obsessed with tiki...like everyone else, I suppose.


 
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The Granite Tiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 02, 2005
Posts: 812
From: Nashua, NH
Posted: 2009-11-02 2:00 pm   Permalink

I get so damn caught up in objectivity sometimes, that I feel a strange pang in my gut whenever an exotica performer plays "Yellow Bird" or "Caravan" on a record.

Nuthin' Tiki about Calypso or the Midddle East!

Which is why Hapa Haole gets my vote for official music of Tiki as well.

(don't get me wrong though, I love Exotica, and my band plays "Caravan"!)

Love the concept of this CD BigBro. And that illustration is great!


 
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aquarj
Grand Member (8 years)  

Joined: Apr 02, 2002
Posts: 1077
From: SF bay area, CA
Posted: 2009-11-02 2:11 pm   Permalink

Sven, can't wait to see and hear this cd.

Maybe the question's already been answered. I think you're just asking what category makes sense for those two songs, as opposed to getting opinions on whether they fit with the "sound of tiki". If so, here's my take on the categorization stuff...

It's pretty hard to call the Shadows surf. They were part of a global trend in guitar-driven instrumentals, which was more of a pop phenomenon and less tied to the California surf sound. It's hard to look (or listen?) back to that era with the right context. Surf instrumentals appeared on the charts in the U.S., but so did other instrumentals too. But from today's perspective, surf is a niche sound. Because it's tied mostly to guitars, it's easy to draw a connection between surf and other guitar-led instros, as opposed to considering the context of the bigger pop instrumental genre which hasn't really survived to the present. I think of the Shadows as really being more in the latter category, since they were influenced much less by the surf sound or even the Ventures.

The eleki sound in Japan is interesting because it was influenced more by the Ventures ("Beloved Invaders") and the popular music of the U.S., plus some traditional Japanese stringed instrument technique. There are some great examples of Japanese eleki with more of a surfy sound than the Shadows, doing songs like Hawaiian War Chant.

I'd say the Ventures are trickier to categorize though. Their "Surfing" album is simply great surf music. But they were all over the map with their sound, partly because so much of what they did was aimed at covering well-known songs to carry record sales. I think Hawaii 5-O was a hit for them, but it's kind of a funny example of a Ventures song. Since they tried to make it sound as much as possible like a straight rendition of the soundtrack, there's not really much Ventures identity on there, and very little connection to their sound or style, and even less connection to the surf genre than other Ventures stuff.

HOWEVER, when you watch the Hawaii 5-O dvds with captions on, and the theme plays, I believe the caption says, "jazzy surf music" or something like that. So there you go, on definitive authority. That's the official Mort Stevens version (woops haha, I originally wrote Morton Gould here), but it's very similar to the Ventures version, so there's some justification.

Incidentally, the band the Astronauts did a beautiful surf rendition of Quiet Village. You have to listen pretty close to hear the relationship to the exotica number though. The Astronauts are sort of your label mates on Bear Family, in the reissue sense. Again, this goes back full circle to the broader trend in pop instrumentals back then. Surf bands were doing Quiet Village, Adventures in Paradise, Siboney, Similau, The Breeze and I, etc., along with other pop hits like Lonely Bull. And pop instrumentalists were covering surf songs right back too. The good old days!

-Randy

[ This Message was edited by: aquarj 2009-11-02 14:16 ]


 
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Sabu The Coconut Boy
Tiki Central Poet Laureate

Joined: Aug 20, 2002
Posts: 2792
From: Carson, California
Posted: 2009-11-02 2:14 pm   Permalink

While I love Slack-Key guitar music and am glad it's being played in more Tiki bars today, I'm of the same mind as Lucas V. in that I don't think it was a big influence on the original Tiki scene because it was never really a "pop" influence in the 50s or 60s.

You get a good barometer of what types of music were swirling around the popular zeitgeist at the same time as Exotica music, when you check the boxes of records at garage and estate sales every week. "Lounge" and "Hawaiian" (hapa haole) records are really common and must have had a huge influence on people's escapism of the time. "Exotica" records are a fairly common as well, but less so. "Surf" was in the mix too, but less common than Exotica.

Only rarely will I stumble upon an old Gabby Pahinui or Sonny Chillingworth record, and those were usually owned by serious audiophiles who often had a lot of Classical and Folkways records in their collections.

I didn't really notice Slack-Key until the 1980s when George Winston started reviving the old artists and promoting the Pahinui brothers again on his Dancing Cat label. It's nice to see the music finally being given more attention.

_________________


 
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