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Review, Analysis and Recordings Containing
K'arawi
K'arawi Monophonic Duophonic
Planting Song  (Moisés Vivanco - 3:15)
Recorded in 1953

Review and Analysis of K'arawi 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!
"The sowing of the seeds for the year's big crops, like all significant moments of Incan life, was elaborately celebrated.  On the first day of planting, the king himself worked alone, tilling the soil with a golden plough, and on the next day his people took up the task with appropriate ceremony.  Music accompanied this activity, rhythmic chanting that gave movement and spirit to the workers.  It was performed only by a group of women singers especially chosen for the occasion, and it is one of their songs that Yma Sumac sings here." (Liner notes, 1953 pressing)

Like other songs on the album, "K'arwawi" does not seem to have been used in concert, leading one to suspect that Inca Taqui was seen as a tribute to simpler Inca Taky Trio days rather than as an example of Yma expanding her repertoire.

"K'arwawi" is immediately striking for its opening which boasts Yma warbling a pseudo-cadenza over the plucking of a guitar and the gentle beating of a drum.  This cadenza is a marvellous effect since Yma uses an unusual combination of opera and blues to simulate the calling of workers to their labor.  This simple call takes Yma up to high D and offers a flurry of triplet figures.

Strangely, she then breaks into nonsensical, chant-like fragments repeating "Mama, mama, mamallay" with whispered sobs resembling an invocation, or religious pleading.  After the chorus wails their agreement, Yma sings the main theme in her contralto register in a trembling, agitated manner.  Although the E minor song is not complex, nor particularly interresting, it does have actual thematic fragments from very old, traditional, Andean planting chants.  It also should be noted that the guitar accompaniment is actually thematic itself.  It is an old, traditional melody always found in Yma's live performances of "Taita Inty" (Virgin of the Sun God).

A duet suddenly springs out of nowhere as Yma over-dubs herself and then is augmented by accompanying sighs and bark-like exclamations.   After repeating the theme with ornamental filigree sung over colorful guitar plucking, she descends to a low, resonant E natural.  Another effect is created at this point by over dubbing Yma's voice humming the same note two octaves higher.

Unfortunately, this song is too fragmented and stark to be a great hit with listeners.  There is, however, a refreshing flavor of ethnic authenticity to the music and performance.

K'arawi  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
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: FAP 1-423
Volume 1, single EP, green label 1953 United States
catalog no: EAP1-684
Part 1 of set from Norway has tracks from both Voice of the Xtabay (1950) and Inca Taqui (1953) so is actually a compilation rather than an original reissue. 1956 Norway
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: CO 553
Unusual World Record Club release with plain cover art 1963 New Zealand
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
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: OLFC 032
Compact Disc compilation from Italy. 2003 Italy
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: 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
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