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Review, Analysis and Recordings Containing
Cumbe-Maita
Cumbe-Maita Monophonic Duophonic
Translated as Calls of the Andes.  (Hernán Braña, Moisés Vivanco - 3:04)
Recorded in 1953

Review and Analysis of Cumbe-Maita 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!
"From childhood, every Incan has learned the loud, expressive chants that carry news from one mountain farm to another.  The chants have no words, but the infinite variations of their melodies tell of every daily affair and sudden emergency that people need to communicate.  For many centuries these musical messages have linked the Incans throughout the vast Andean area  in which they live, transmitting information with a speed that modern inventions barely equal.  Yma Sumac, who was born in a mountain range called Cumbe-Maita, sings the calls of her homeland." (Liner notes, 1953 pressing)

This was another song that Yma never seems to have sung on stage.  Although bogus, and framed in a tacky arrangement, it offers her an excellent opportunity to provide some stunning vocalism.  According to Hernan Braña (and to sheet music that I have seen), this was originally a flute solo he wrote and played during the Sumac concerts.  Later, around 1976, he rescucitated the vocal version for Yosef Synovec, the Sumac impersonator who sang the piece under the title of "Snake" in his club appearances.

The arrangement written for Yma is purposefully fragmented to demonstrate various "Andean" calls.  Because of the imitative content of the song, this piece is more successful than others as program music.  Yma's voice is in excellent shape with much forward buzz and carrying power and, unique to this singer, a nonchallant delivery of even the most complicated passages.

Unfortunately, the accompaniment of brass, winds and strings is only partially successful; a pervading Country-Western flavor undermining the exotic effect sought.  Capitol studio engineers use echo devices to simulate the wilds of mountain tops, and create atmosphere, but it is only the snake-like melody that Yma sings at the beginning and the end of the song that ties the piece together.

In this main theme, rippling triplet figures in Yma's lower register are well contrasted by brilliant, lightning-quick staccati that rise to high D and shoot forth into the echo-enhanced acoustics like chimes in the chill air of a winter morning.  Aside from these moments the only other item of interest is a descending glissando to low E at the conclusion which Yma does with her mouth almost shut.

Because of the fragmented contour of the music and the sometimes bizarre singing, (which intermixes, Opera, Jazz, Blues, and various vocal effects) the song remains uneven.  It could also have done without the accompanying male chorus since they add no atmosphere.  When the orchestration works, (as it does in a few spots) the combination of trombones, strings, flute, percussion, winds, and gong provide some unique sounds.  When the orchestration does not work - which is often, it sounds pedantic and tacky.

Webmaster's note: As mentioned above, this piece was written by Hernán Braña but was usually credited only to Moises Vivanco on many pressings and releases.

Cumbe-Maita  is included on the following releases
Download-only version of Yma Sumac's first (Voice of the Xtabay) and third Inca Taqui albums, 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 Voice of the Xtabay. The exact country of origin is u . . . 2011 Australia
catalog no: ASIN: B002B2LZWC
Another collection of download only tracks that includes several of Yma Sumac's early South American recordings along with her later cuts from Capitol Records. Interestingly, the makers of this release chose to use English translations for some of the songs but the track listing shown here has been . . . 2008 United Kingdom
Download-only version of selections from Yma Sumac's Voice of the Xtabay, Legend of the Sun Virgin and Inca Taqui. probably a bootleg as no EMI/Capital Records licensing information could be found. These tracks are included on legitimate releases of Voice of the Xtabay and Legend of the Sun Virgin b . . . 2013 Australia
catalog no: ASIN: B002GM2RAQ
A download-only collection of recordings that includes several of Yma Sumac's early songs from South America along with her later material. Although the exact country of origin is vague and it seems to appear most often on sites in Germany, the record label seems to be located in the United Kingdom. . . . 2006 United Kingdom
catalog no: FAP 1-423
Volume 1, single EP, green label 1953 United States
catalog no: FBF-423
Third album, gatefold double EP 1953 United States
catalog no: LAL 9023
10" LP pressing of Yma Sumac's third album, recorded in 1953.  There were few reissues because it was later paired with Voice of the Xtabay as the second side of the 12" LP format and on nearly all releases under that title.  Today it is generally considered a part of the Xtabay album. 1953 United States
catalog no: H-423
One of the few known releases from Columbia, it was apparently released in the U.S. printed sleeve. 1953 Columbia
catalog no: H-423
This is the first pressing of Yma Sumac's fourth album. 1953 United States
catalog no: L-423
Unusual South American pressing with wood grained borders printed with the cover art, rather than the 7" cover art being pasted over a standard bordered 10" sleeve. 1953 Argentina
catalog no: LZE 5005
Unusual Japanese release in gatefold sleeve. English labels and back liner notes; inner sleeve contains notes in Japanese. The Capitol logo is slightly different but otherwise the cover looks much like the more common U.S. release. 1953 Japan
catalog no: L-423
Unusual European pressing with woodgrained borders printed with the cover art, rather than the 7" cover art being pasted over a standard bordered 10" sleeve. 1953 France
catalog no: L-423
This is an early pressing of Yma Sumac's fourth album, and one of only a few reissues. 1954 United States
catalog no: LC-6624
U.K reissue of Yma Sumac's third album, recorded in 1953.  Features unusual painted cover art in the same style as the original photograph.  Because of the detail, very likely it was a painted over copy of the original photo and then reprinted onto the cover.  Painted cover art seems typical of t . . . 1955 United Kingdom
catalog no: OLP-1
Reissue of third album with different cover art, featuring a still from the 1954 film, Secret of the Incas.  Mfg. by Tokyo Shibaura Electric Co, Ltd.  Back cover has only track listing for this and two other albums in the series - no liner notes. 1956 Japan
catalog no: UV093
Recent 10" LP release of Yma's third album with the original eight tracks. 2003 Italy
catalog no: 2 C 054-80 293
12" LP compilation from France, has small color cover photo from Mambo photo session.  This was volume 10 in a series of albums by popular artists. 1976 France
catalog no: SL-9799
Red-tone cover photo, available mail order only 1988 United States
catalog no: W-684
This is the first 12" LP reissue of Yma Sumac's phenominal 1950 premier album and includes all the tracks from her third album, Inca Taqui to fill the larger capacity of the 12" LP format. 1955 United States
catalog no: 5C 038-85488 (T-684)
LP containing sixteen tracks from Voice of the Xtabay (1950) and Inca Taqui (1953) from Holland. Similar in most repects to the U.S. releases except in catalog number and logo details. It was released on the EMI Records Holland sub-label. Inner sleeve features an artist rendering of the Capitol Reco . . . 1956 Netherlands
catalog no: W-684
Reissue of first album, B/W back cover photo, this is a later pressing without the inset of the Inca Taqui cover art that graced the original release in this format.  Although not the very first, this is one of the earlier 12" LP releases and shares the catalog number with original 12" pr . . . 1963 United States
catalog no: DW 684
Reissue of first album, Duophonic simulated stereo, includes Inca Taqui tracks 1963 United States
catalog no: DW-684
Duophonic (simulated stereo) LP from Canada is virtually identical to U.S. pressings other than the tiny Made in Canada notations on the sleeve and disk label. 1963 Canada
catalog no: SLEM-323
One of the few known pressings from Mexico, this 12" LP is in the simulated stereo Duophonic format. 1972 México
catalog no: SUA 14 729
Supraphon version with plain back (track listing only) and no cover title.  This album is basically a reissue of Voice of the Xtabay but with one song less on each side. 1965 Czech Republic
catalog no: DV 6150
Gramophon record club version with cover title and liner notes. This album is basically a reissue of Voice of the Xtabay but with one song less on each side. 1965 Czech Republic
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: BYD77004
27 track compilation featuring pre-1955 material along with several 1943 Argentina Session tracks. Good selection of material but the booklet contains many inaccuracies over the usual. For example, her name was spelled as Ymma throughout when that spelling was used only on one obscure release from t . . . 2008 United Kingdom
catalog no: 2711402146
Unusual Compact Disc collection from Greece, apparently available for only a single day as a promotional by a weekly newspaper. Packaged in a long DVD-type sleeve. 2008 Greece
catalog no: ASIN: B001P5MG6A
Collection from the United Kingdom features tracks ranging from Yma Sumac earliest material from 1943 to 1954 at the height of her career. Includes tracks from Voice of the Xtabay (1950), Legend of the Sun Virgin (1952), Inca Taqui (1953) and Mambo! (1954) and also included are her two singles from . . . 2009 United Kingdom
Collection to be released on January 17th, 2005, although the country of origin is somewhat vague. It seems to show up primarily on sites in France but was more likely made in Italy. 2005 France
catalog no: CD 31507
Another compilation featuring selections from Yma Sumac's first four Capitol Records albums. This release is part of the Entertainers of the World series. Although the country origin is not stated anywhere on the packaging inside or out, the publisher is located in Ireland. This release does not hav . . . 2009 Ireland
catalog no: PCD-1172
This compilation was the first CD released of Yma Sumac's material 1987 United States
catalog no: CDL 9568
Yma Sumac's first CD, this particlar pressing of the compilation was from Canada. 1987 Canada
catalog no: CDL 9568
Yma Sumac's first CD which in this case is a compilation.  This is a later reissue. 1991 United States
catalog no: CDP-7-91 217-2
Reissue of first album, first CD reissue, includes Inca Taqui tracks 1987 United States
Promotional copy of 1996 Right Stuff CD reissue, includes Inca Taqui tracks 1996 United States
catalog no: 0777-7-91 217-2-4
Reissue of first album, second CD reissue, includes Inca Taqui tracks 1996 United States
catalog no: 8374292
EMI Rarities reissue of first album with Inca Taqui tracks and bonus track with original unedited cover art 1999 France
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: GSS 5482
This 3-CD set advertised as being from Holland but package and disk printing indicate it was made in Portugal. Released in March 2008 and contains 47 tracks, this boxed set contains three standard jewel cases all with the same cover art and no booklet or notes. The box cover is shown. 2008 Portugal
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
Yet another compilation CD with the title of Queen of Exotica making three with that title. This one, which is a 2-CD set, combines four of Yma Sumac's '50s albums. 2005 United Kingdom
catalog no: 4 XL-9799
B/W cover photo, mail order edition. This early release has two addional tracks not found on later cassette reissues. 1988 United States
catalog no: PDK-2-1172
First cassette compilation has two tracks fewer than the compact disc version 1992 United States
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