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Review, Analysis and Recordings Containing
La Benita
La Benita Monophonic
From 1943 Argentina Session  (trad. arr. Moisés Vivanco - 2:45)
Recorded in 1943

Review and Analysis of La Benita 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!
Although the arrangement of La Benita is slight, it cleverly contrasts the legato of the first section with the virtuosity of the remaining.  A vocalise of extensive difficulty, this song ranks with Virgenes del Sol and Amor Indio as among the finest items the young Sumac put to disk.

After a short introduction, we are shown an interesting vocal effect that Yma will later refine and use in such pieces of exotica as Taita Inty (Hymn to the Sun), Xtabay (Lure of the Unknown Love), and Kuyaway (Inca Love Song).  This is the singing of very high phrases with the mouth almost closed - as if humming.  In addition to keeping the tone high in the head, it provides a thin, intimate, chant-like feeling to the phrase.  In this song it lends an introverted aura to the first phrases, which strongly contrast the full-throated, intricate high staccati passages that follow after.  After an interlude, Yma indulges in an improvisatory figure.  This is an embryonic form of a flourish that will be perfected by 1951, when she records Ccori Canastitay (Golden Basket) on Legend of the Sun Virgin.  The high staccati are sung with bell-like top E flats, followed by another improvisatory figure, which brings the song to a quiet close.

La Benita is more complex than other songs Yma recorded at this time.  It has distinct sections of varying rhythmical structures (lyrical, dance-like, etc.) and abundant use of grace notes and connecting swoops by the singer - all traditional Peruvian vocal devices.  The conclusion of the piece is sung like the beginning - with the mouth almost closed.

La Benita  is included on the following releases
catalog no: B 71203
Early 1943 material recorded in Argentina, probably a later reissue due to the spelling of her name which was not used before 1950. 1950 Italy
catalog no: D.P. 324
78 single of 1943 Argentina Session is likely issued circa 1950 due to the spelling of Yma Sumac's name. Before 1950, it was spelled "Imma Sumack" but on this release, it has the more common spelling. 1950 United Kingdom
catalog no: 274
78 rpm single from earliest recording session in 1943. 1943 Perú
catalog no: 9-8058
Reissue of earliest recordings from 1943 1952 United States
catalog no: 81051
Reissue of earliest recordings from 1943, part 2 of two disk set 1952 United States
catalog no: 81051
Reissue of earliest recordings from 1943, part 2 of two disk set. This pressing has ads on the back for other Coral releases and no liner notes. 1953 United States
catalog no: 81051
Reissue of earliest recordings from 1943, part 2 of two disk set. The original release was from 1952 but was reissued several times. 1953 United States
catalog no: M 128
Compilation of earliest recordings from 1943. 1952 México
catalog no: CRL 56 058
Reissue of earliest recordings from 1943 1952 United States
catalog no: JOM-1027-3
All eighteen tracks from Yma Sumac's first recording sessions in 1943, along with five others by El Conjunto Folklorico Peruano de Moisés Vivanco and soloists that were part of the same sessions. This earliest material was recorded in Argentina under the name Imma Sumack, which was her or . . . 2011 United States
catalog no: BLUE103CD
Fully remastered, all eighteen tracks from Yma Sumac's first recording sessions in 1943, along with five others by El Conjunto Folklorico Peruano de Moisés Vivanco and soloists that were part of the same sessions. This earliest material was recorded in Argentina under the name Imma Sumack, wh . . . 2012 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: OLFC 032
Compact Disc compilation from Italy. 2003 Italy
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
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