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Capitol Records - Monophonic - 1956 Norway 7" EP
Born high in the Peruvian Andes, a descendant of the last of the Incan kings, Yma Sumac spent her childhood literally "talking" with the birds, the beasts, the winds, the sounds of life and nature surrounding the little village of Ichocan.
While still a small girl she began taking part in the religious pageants and services of the sun-worshipping Indians and became almost deified by them. Word of her phenomenal vocal powers reached Lima, the Peruvian capitol, and an official government delegation travelled into this remote mountain region to see and hear what they secretely believed to be a myth. Yma Sumac was real, however, and a few years later she was in Lima, studying, singing, maturing, becoming Peru's precious gift to the world.
A member of that original delegation was Moisés Vivanco, a young composer and authority on Incan music, who fell in love with the voice and later fell in love with the young woman herself. He in now Yma Sumac's husband, manager, conductor, arranger, a gifted musical figure in his own right and an essential complement to his wife's vocal artistry.
The scope of Yma Sumac's performance widened from Peru, throughout South America, eventually throughout the world. But is was not a career of direct, soaring success. Her revered position in Peru meant little to the audiences and booking agents of the United States who, at first, regarded her as little more than a novelty. As a result, she and Vivanco played one-night stands, a resort in the Catskill "borscht belt", even a New York delicatessen. Sometimes, luckily, there would be a break in the bad luck and they would have an engagement at a smart club like the "Blue Angel" or appear on a nationwide television show.
It wasn't until 1950, however, that Yma Sumac "arrived". She gave a concert at the famed Hollywood Bowl and her impact on the audience was so startling that the wire services carried the news of her triumph all over the world. Then, a few weeks later, her first Capitol album was released and it became the sensation of the record industry, a best-seller by virtue of an unprecedented word-of-mouth campaign.
Yma Sumac was suddenly an international celebrity, in world-wide demand, so she began a series of concert tours that carried her from continent to continent, singing to hunderds of thousands, eliciting frenzied, idolatrous applause wherever she went. A young woman with a face, figure and demeanor as strikingly beautiful as her heralded voice, Yma Sumac was at last fulfilling her destiny.
"There is no voice like it in the world of music today", said Glenn Dillard Gunn of the Washington Times-Herald. "It has a greater range than any female voice of concert or opera. It soars into the stratosphere, or plumbs sub-contralto depths of pitch with equal ease. Such voices happen only once in a generation".
In Buenos Aires, La Prensa said, "The greatest musical revelation of our times".
Jarmila Novotna, the Metropolitan Opera's great soprano, called Yma Sumac's voice "about the most exciting I've ever heard".
A New York teen-ager said, "When I listed to her I feel like I'm dreaming, like I'm in another world".
And the faraway world of her native Ichocan, the natives still regard her as a reincarnation of Xtabay, lovely and mysterious woman of Incan legend.
side onefrom Voice of the Xtabay