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Review, Analysis and Recordings Containing
Birds
Birds Monophonic
From the Broadway musical Flahooley, was also known as Enchantment and is an early version of Chuncho that was first heard in 1953 on the album called Inca Taqui.  (Moisés Vivanco - 2:58)
Recorded in 1951

Review and Analysis of Birds by Nicholas E. Limansky
From Yma Sumac - The Art Behind the Legend
used with permission - all rights reserved, © Nicholas E. Limansky
Read more on the Legacy of the Diva Web site!
Birds, however, remains the showpiece of the album and is a startling departure from the other exotica.  Whereas the others are lushly orchestrated, "Birds" is oddly stark with only guitar, flute, native drums, rattles and other percussive instruments.

"Birds" was the embryonic "Chuncho!" (Forest Creatures).  Because of the extraordinary popularity of "Birds" with audiences in 1951 and 1952, a gradual expansion of the piece took place and around 1953, "Chuncho!" sprang into being.  By the time Inca Taqui was recorded, the expansion had been completed.

Blues and jazz effects are more prominant in "Birds" than in "Chuncho!"  This is program music of an unsettling nature.  There is no melody to speak of but rather a sequence of loosely connected phrases.

Superbly sung, Yma provides myriad sounds, many of which were new to record groves at the time: whispers, 1/4 tones, growls, emphatic register breaks, birdcalls, insect sounds, as well as sudden changes in vocal placement, and variations of resonance and vibrato.  Listeners of the day must have been amazed at such sounds coming from their record players.  Although short, the piece is extremely well-judged and builds to a fine climax.  For this Yma chromatically rises to a pure, flute-like, F above high C and then descends with a glistening glissando to the contralto region.  (Later, when "Chuncho!" was recorded, this would be discarded for more outrè singing.)  The piece ends with Yma providing lip-flutters and whispers.

Birds  is included on the following releases
Download-only version of Yma Sumac's Flahooley, probably a bootleg as no EMI/Capital Records licensing information could be found. These are the same tracks that can be found on legitimate releases of Flahooley. The exact country of origin is unknown. 2008 Australia
Download-only version of Yma Sumac's Flahooley, probably a bootleg as no EMI/Capital Records licensing information could be found. These are the same tracks that can be found on legitimate releases of Flahooley. The exact country of origin is unknown. 2010 Australia
catalog no: ASIN: B003F6CT5A
Download only version of Legend of the Jivaro also contains the two sides from Yma Sumac's stand-alone single and the tracks from the Broadway show, Flahooley. 2010 United Kingdom
catalog no: SSL-4755 (P-2367)
U.S. military transcription LP (16" vinyl format) with an interesting and mixed collection of Yma Sumac's material from 1951 to 1954, and tracks by Johnny Desmond on the other side.  This recording was made by the Office of the Secretary of Defense and released for airplay by the Armed For . . . 1954 United States
catalog no: 1819
Single from Broadway musical, Flahooley 1951 United States
catalog no: 7-1819
Single from Broadway musical Flahooley, this is a white label promotional version, which seems to be fairly common. 1951 United States
catalog no: C 80200
Single from Broadway musical Flahooley on the German Capitol-Telefunken label. While other pressings have a photo-sleeve, this interesting release has a paper sleeve which shows the Hollywood Bowl stage where Yma Sumac made her debut several years earlier. 1951 Germany
catalog no: 7-1819
One of the more common promotional singles, this one contains two tracks from the 1951 Broadway musical Flahooley. The regular release of this single, which was available as both 78 and 45 rpm singles, was in a picture sleeve but promotional copies were in plain Capitol sleeves. 1951 United States
catalog no: DF-284
Broadway musical soundtrack recording, original 6-disk 78 rpm set.  Although it has been reissued on compact disc which is now out of print, this still remains one of the most sought-after of Yma Sumac's recordings in all formats. 1951 United States
catalog no: 6F-1819
Single from Broadway musical Flahooley 1951 United States
catalog no: 6F-1819
Single from Broadway musical Flahooley, with Optional Centers 1951 United States
catalog no: EDM-284
Broadway musical, soundtrack recording, boxed EP 1951 United States
catalog no: CAP S-284
Broadway musical, soundtrack recording, test pressing.  This non-production release was pressed on very heavy vinyl or bakelite similar to that used on the 78s of the era and has only very basic labeling. 1955 United States
catalog no: S-284
Broadway musical, soundtrack recording, first LP reissue 1955 United States
catalog no: T-11649
Broadway musical, soundtrack recording.  This is the first 12" LP reissue from around 1955 while the original was released as a 6-disk 78 rpm set in 1951. 1977 United States
Vinyl releases seem to be the trend now as this recent double LP indicates. This time it is a reissue from a compilation CD rather than being a reissue of an original vinyl disk. 2005 United Kingdom
catalog no: SOW 90201
Compact Disc compilation from Holland, which is the first time that any of the early 1943 tracks from Argentina have been heard on a CD release outside South America. There is lots of ambiguity in this CD's country of origin (it indicates that it was made in Portugal in some places and The Netherlan . . . 2002 Netherlands
catalog no: ZDM-0777-7-64 764-2-1
This is the compact disc reissue of the Broadway musical soundtrack recording.  Originally released in 1951 as a 6 disk 78 rpm set and a 4 disk boxed EP set with the 12" LP following around 1955.  It disappeared until a 1977 LP reissue and disappeared again until 1993 when this compact dis . . . 1993 United States
catalog no: 19059
Once again, Flahooley returns on compact disc!  This time, the front and back have been printed just like a miniature version of the 1955 LP, or even the original 1951 78 set. 2004 United States
catalog no: INTROCD2086
Another compilation of early '50s material by Yma Sumac. 2006 United Kingdom
catalog no: OLFC 032
Compact Disc compilation from Italy. 2003 Italy
catalog no: CREVO 34 CD
Compilation with previously-unreleased material.  This is the original 1995 issue but a more recent version exists with different tracks. 1995 United Kingdom
catalog no: CREVO 34 CD
Reissue of compilation with previously-unreleased material. This reissue contains a slightly different track selection than the original 2001 United Kingdom
catalog no: 23351
76 Hits and Rarities from the goddess of Exotica. More details and track for this September 2012 collection coming soon. 2012 United Kingdom
catalog no: 05-08
Probably one of the most unusual releases to have an Yma Sumac track, this 2-CD set of the DR Demento radio show #05-08 with the special topic of Birds was originally sent to radio stations for airplay.  Included under the program's topic was Yma Sumac's Birds from the 1951 Broadway show, Flahooley . . . 2005 United States
catalog no: 118734
Anthologie 1950-1959 Compact Disc set of Yma Sumac's containing all of Yma Sumac's 1950's Capitol Records original release catalog. Probably a bootleg as no EMI/Capital Records licensing information could be found. These tracks are included on legitimate releases of all the original albums. 2013 France
catalog no: BLUE102CD
Double CD collection features remastered tracks from the 1943 Argentina Session along with those from the Capitol Records years. 2005 United Kingdom
catalog no: EG-0777-7-64 764-4-5
This is the cassette reissue of the Broadway musical soundtrack recording. Originally released in 1951 as a 6 disk 78 rpm set and a 4 disk boxed EP set with the 12" LP following around 1955.  It disappeared until a 1977 LP reissue and then this cassette, paired with a compact disc reissue at th . . . 1993 United States
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