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Review, Analysis and Recordings Containing
Montana
Montana Monophonic
Also known as Montana Mama.  (Moisés Vivanco - 3:25)
Recorded in 1952

Review and Analysis of Montana 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!
"In the quiet of dusk, after the day's work, Andean mothers croon their babies to sleep with this haunting lullaby.  It expresses the hope and love every mother feels for her child."  (Program notes, Chicago concert, 12/10/54)

Although the program notes are deliberately contrived to make the song universal, the music for this piece is really just a folk tune from the Andes that has been slickly commercialized.  Nonetheless, it was a favorite with audiences and also with Yma, who resuscitated it as late as 1997, for appearances at the Montreal Jazz Festival.

The musicial genesis of the piece is complex, derivative and confusing.  Yma's "Montana," actually a gentle waltz, is a hodge-podge of themes taken from other songs.  The main theme is identical to that of a song called "Mamallay" which can be found on a disc of authentic Andean music recorded by Angelica Harada.  (Yma's song, "Mamallay," also on Legend of the Sun Virgin, bears no resemblance to Harada's.)  Another theme in Yma's "Montana" is traditional and stems from the black heritage of the Coastal areas of Peru.

Yma's Montana is also different from one recorded by Sumac Koya.  Koya's version, called "Montana Mia," a Melodia Andina, is a brilliant, pyrotechnical performance.  Another of the prominent melodies in Yma's version can be heard in Wara Wara's recording of "En tu Dia" (On Your Birthday), a Peruvian Vals.  Wara Wara's performance is a virtuostic display with an obbligato rising to E above high C, but aside from the one thematic fragment, has little to do with Yma's version.

"Montana" is a lyrical, smoothly flowing piece, and although the range Yma uses is limited, there are a number of unusual vocal timbres displayed: 3rd brace - intense, full and lyrical, 4th brace - hushed and intimate, 5th & 8th brace - crooned, almost hummed, 6th brace - intense sobbing effect.

This last became a favored effect of Yma's.  After this recording, she frequently adopted this effect for many other songs on albums.  At times in excess.  Also, during the course of this song Yma hums with various tonal placements, each providing a different mood for the phrase being sung.  The orchestral accompaniment, though simple, is colorful and does not detract from Yma's effects.  For a song of this simplicity, the effects are surprisingly involved, but, fortunately, center on tonal and vibrato variations rather than overt, bizarre vocalism or pyrotechnical display.

An unreleased, instrumental take of this piece was released in 1997 on RevOla's Mambo!... and More.  Although not crucial to the Sumacian legacy, it does give the listener an excellent opportunity to concentrate on the type of arrangement typically used to support her singing.  It is remakably colorful for its use of stringed instruments and different bowings.  On its own it is a fine, atmospheric piece of exotica writing - enjoyable even without Yma's voice supplying the main melody.  Although Les Baxter is not credited on this recording - except on the very first releases, I detect certain Baxterian effects in this and other songs on the album that would support the opposite.

Montana  is included on the following releases
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
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: 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: 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
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: 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 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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