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Review, Analysis and Recordings Containing
Karibe Taki
Karibe Taki Monophonic
Caribbean Song, also called "Alma Tristesse"  (Hernán Braña - 2:49)
Recorded in 1952

Review and Analysis of Karibe Taki 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!
Penned by Hernán Braña, this is an excellent first band for the album.  Hernán's intimate knowledge of Yma's voice - its possibilities and limitations, provided a piece that fit her voice like a glove.  The simple vocal line, contrasted by lush, almost tropical orchestration, sets a wonderful atmosphere of the unusual.  According to Hernán, its inception, in 1951, stems from a visit he had with Yma at her penthouse apartment on upper Broadway in Manhattan.  When he arrived, Moisés was out and Hernán found Yma in tears and depressed.  He was so moved that he wrote this lovely, nostalgic song for her.

Like the three selections from Flahooley, "Karibe Taki" is an important example of the musical workings of Yma's mind while improvising because the song was done in one, continuous take.  When Hernán composed the piece, Yma's vocal line was written down.  When it came time to record it in the studio, however, Yma improvised a short opening cadenza (a rarity on her recordings) and during the first section altered rhythms and provided vocal shadings that could never have been notated on manuscript.  The final, obligatory Afro-Cuban section, however, showed the most change.

According to what Hernán originally told me, he had notated in the music what he thought would go nicely in each section.  He remembers, however, that when reaching this point in the recording studio, Yma suddenly took off on tangents that had little to do with what he had written, or even what they had discussed.  Stunned by the brilliance of what she was creating, both he and Moisés decided no other take was necessary.  (It should be noted, however, that according to the Capitol files the take used for the final release was #10.  RevOla marks this track on their CD release, Voice of the Xtabay and Other Exotic Delights as an unreleased recording but comparisons with the released version show them to be exactly the same.)

A study of Yma's improvising during "Karibe Taki" (and the Flahooley songs) give the listener a rare glimpse into the actual workings of her mind during flights of extemporization.  Most impressive is Yma's absolute authority, technical mastery of her voice within a range of three-octaves, and her instinctive varying of rhythmic emphasis while in the midst of dense coloratura work.

Yma's tone is very forward, firm, and has much "buzz" - a power and focus worthy of any operatic lyric soprano.  The underlying "Cha-Cha" beat supports her elegant, classically polished singing and is famed by an inventive, colorful orchestration.  When the theme returns in the minor key, Yma completely changes her vibrato and tonal placement to suggest great sadness.  The coloratura fireworks of the last section blaze with high staccati that sparkle and dazzle as Yma nonchallantly plays with high Ds, Es, rhythm and accentuation, and then descends to contralto depths with quarter tones and nonsense syllables.

Karibe Taki  is included on the following releases
catalog no: SSL-4313 (SP 651)
U.S. military transcription LP (16" vinyl format) has six Yma Sumac tracks on one side, and tracks by Walter Gross on the piano on the other. This recording was made by the Office of the Secretary of Defense and released for airplay by the Armed Forces Radio Service. 1952 United States
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: DDN-299
Canadian release of Yma Sumac's second album, recorded in 1952.  Except for tiny details, most Canadian pressings are nearly identical to the U.S. pressings.  Liner notes are in yellow on the back of the box 1952 Canada
catalog no: DDN-299
Original release of Yma Sumac's second album, recorded in 1952.  Liner notes are in yellow on the back of the box 1952 United States
catalog no: KDF-299
Second album, first pressing, Optional Centers, yellow back cover 1952 United States
catalog no: KDF-299
Second album, first pressing, yellow back cover 1952 United States
catalog no: FBF-299
Rather unusual Boxed Set EP with two disks, each having four tracks.  The Double EP was generally in a gatefold sleeve rather than a box so this release was apparently done defore the sleeves were made. 1952 United States
catalog no: FAP 1-299
Second album, later pressing, volume one of two - red label 1952 United States
catalog no: FBF-299
Second album, Gatefold double EP, later pressing 1952 United States
catalog no: L-299
Reissue of second album from Germany with Les baxter credits 1952 Germany
catalog no: L-299
Reissue of second album from New Zealand.  Mfg. by His Master's Voice (N.Z.) Ltd. 1952 New Zealand
catalog no: L-299
Early LP pressing of second album with Les Baxter credits on disk label 1952 United States
catalog no: L-299
Later LP pressing of second album without Les Baxter credits on disk label. For each new format released, Les Baxter's credits appeared, then were removed for the next pressings. Those with his name on the label (it does not appear on the sleeve on any pressing) can be considered first or early rele . . . 1952 United States
catalog no: LC 6609
U.K reissue of Yma Sumac's second album, recorded in 1952.  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 . . . 1953 United Kingdom
catalog no: ROCT 5289-56
Russian LP collection features one song by Yma Sumac as the second track on side one. Oddly, the Russian label translated indicates that the song is titled For You This Song which, of course, is not the name of any Yma Sumac song released or otherwise. This LP actually contains Karibe Taki as indica . . . 1960 Russia
catalog no: T-299
Reissue of second album, first 12 inch LP pressing 1955 United States
catalog no: SM-299
Probably a '60s or '70s reissue of Yma Sumac's second album recorded in 1952.  Because of the extra space this format had, additional tracks from the same recording session were added.  The original 78 rpm set had only eight tracks. 1965 United States
catalog no: ENC 10489
Reissue of Yma Sumac's second album, released originally as a 78 rpm set recorded in 1952, this is a later 12" LP pressing.  Due to the extended play time on this format, additional tracks from the same session were used to fill it. 1965 Australia
catalog no: T-299
Reissue of second album, later 12 inch LP pressing 1972 United States
catalog no: UV099
This Italian release was made on "audiophile" 180 gram vinyl. 2004 Italy
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: PS39015
A collection featuring tracks drawn primarily from Yma Sumac's Mambo! (1954) and her Legend of the Sun Virgin (1952) albums with several others from various albums and singles. 2007 Germany
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: SOL 610
This compilation has fifteen tracks including a live track by Yma Sumac recorded in Bucharest, Romania and two instumentals by Les Baxter from his 1951 Ritual of the Savage album. It also features an interesting revision of the Inca Taqui cover art similar to what was used on a painted version of th . . . 2003 France
catalog no: CDP-7-91 250-2
Reissue of second album, first Compact Disc reissue.  These early CD releases had much sharper, clearer cover art than the later Right Stuff reissues. 1989 United States
catalog no: 0777-7-91 250-2-9
Reissue of second album, second CD reissue 1996 United States
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: INTROCD2086
Another compilation of early '50s material by Yma Sumac. 2006 United Kingdom
catalog no: EK 66433
Cyndi Lauper album and the various CD singles made with the song Mother have digital sampling of three of Yma's songs blended in. 1996 United States
catalog no: TOCP 50 037
CD compilation from Japan features a nice cross section of Yma Sumac's '50s material.  Now out of print, it still shows up once in a while. 1996 Japan
catalog no: 664184 2
Cyndi Lauper CD with some unrecognizable sampling of Yma Sumac recordings, even less recognizable in this dance single remix.  There are many Cyndi Lauper releases with this title, but have different track selections.  Only those containing Mother have the digital sampling. 1997 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 M-299
Yma Sumac's second album is sung in quasi-classical style.  This is the first cassette reissue.  The original 78 rpm set had eight tracks while 12" LP and later reissues generally had twelve as does this cassette.  The additional tracks were from the same session. 1987 United States
catalog no: 8 M 299
Reissue of second album 1972 United States
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