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Review, Analysis and Recordings Containing
Virgenes del Sol
Virgenes del Sol Monophonic
Virgins of the Sun from 1943 Argentina session.  (trad. arr. Jorge Bravo de Rueda, Moisés Vivanco - 3:21)
Recorded in 1943  

Review and Analysis of Virgenes del Sol 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!
This song was very important during the early part of Yma's South American career.  Originally this was a traditional Peruvian folk song that was first written down by Jorge Bravo de Rueda.  The arrangement used by the Compania is simple and centers on Yma's imitation of the solo flute, which dominates the piece.  This song remains popular today and is performed by singers and instrumentalists alike.  I have heard a beautiful arrangement for solo harp played in a restaurant, as well as an instrumental ensemble that performed the piece in the 34th Street Subway station in New York City.

As an introduction, the accompanying instruments (guitar, mandolin, accordion, drums, and flute) play through the entire piece with the flute carrying the melody.  At its conclusion Yma enters on a floated high E flat.  The sound of her voice is so pure that, at first, one mistakes her voice for the flute.  The song is a spectacular vocalise and Yma's poise and confidence are immediately apparent as she darts up to high staccati, which dazzle the listener with their purity and effortlessness (up to G flat above high C).

One of the most impressive features of this song is the unpretentious display of Yma's pitch, which is remarkably exact.  Even without training, her ear is more acute than most classical artists of seasoned experience.  This was something Yma never lost; her singing was always notable for its excellent pitch.

After two (introductory) staccato descents from high E flat, Yma sings the main melody with round, full tone richly mixed with head voice. This gives her voice great height and freedom.  The only fault to be found in this selection (and others recorded at this time) is her failure to smoothly taper phrases.  These tend to dissipate as Yma's breath control depletes itself.  Typical of Yma's singing at this time, it would be corrected by the time she reached America.  Nonetheless, this is a healthy voice under commendable control.  At this stage of her career there is no sign of vocal manipulation or tension.  Despite the height she constantly reaches the voice is free and easily produced.

For the conclusion, Yma plucks another top E flat out of thin air and bravely sustains the note.  This particular attack was never easy for the Peruvian singer.  She preferred using a rising scale, or a prefacing "n" (to help place her voice securely in the head register - as in Amor Indio [Indian Love]) to reach her climactic high notes.  Because of Yma's insecurity with this type of attack, the final note becomes uncomfortable, straightens as it is held, and loses the necessary upper partials.

As a whole, the song is a brilliant success.  Entranced by the beauty of Yma's voice, listeners don't realize that during the course of the short, three-minute song, she had to sing high E flat twenty times.

Virgenes del Sol  is included on the following releases
catalog no: B 71216
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: 362
Un Picaflor la Desangro (A Hummingbird took her blood) is the only known spoken track ever recorded by Yma Sumac and is both in Quechua and Spanish. 1943 Perú
catalog no: UR 836
Part of the 1943 Argentina Session and probably dates back to the original release in 1943 1943 Uruguay
catalog no: 57006 A
Single from early recording session probably dates back to the original release due to the spelling of her name. 1943 Argentina
catalog no: X3381
Single pressing from Brazil of Yma Sumac's early recording session. Due to the spelling of her name, this release was from 1950 at the earliest. 1950 Brazil
catalog no: 9-8058
Reissue of earliest recordings from 1943 1952 United States
catalog no: 81050
Reissue of earliest recordings from 1943, part 1 of two disk set 1952 United States
catalog no: 81050
Reissue of earliest recordings from 1943, part 1 of two disk set. This pressing has ads on the back for other Coral releases and no liner notes. 1953 United States
catalog no: 81050
Reissue of earliest recordings from 1943, part 1 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: LDC-522
Compilation of earliest recordings from 1943. 1952 Argentina
catalog no: LD-1045
The Voice of Gold Sings the Hymns of the Incas. Early 10" release from Peru containing tracks from Yma Sumac's 1943 Argentina recording session. Several releases used this same cover art which features a still frame from the 1954 Hollywood film, Secret of the Incas but with a different track se . . . 1955 Perú
catalog no: CRL 56 058
Reissue of earliest recordings from 1943 1952 United States
catalog no: DMO-55458
Only 12" LP compilation known to contain tracks from the early 1943 recording session. Shares a similar cover art and has the same tracks as a Peruvian cassette release of the same name which uses the photo from the 1959 Capitol Records LP, Fuego del Ande. Due to the spelling of her name on the . . . 1962 Argentina
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: 02282
Collection containing tracks from Yma Sumac's early South American sessions along with several cuts from her last album for Capitol Records. It also includes two instrumentals by unknown artists and it is also available as an electronic download. 2010 Columbia
catalog no: 7-2438-21 100-2-6
Compilation featuring tracks from early 1943 Argentina Session along with tracks by Inti-Sumaj 1997 Columbia
catalog no: EMI-RE-020 428
Contains early 1943 Argentina Session material, along with later Capitol Records tracks 1996 Perú
catalog no: OLFC 032
Compact Disc compilation from Italy. 2003 Italy
catalog no: CD 830 62702-5
Despite EMI and Sony logos this interesting collection, which also includes tracks by great Peruvian performers Wara Wara, Siwar Q'ente and Martina Portocarrero, has countless typos and discrepancies of origin as to make the legitimacy of it questionable. Although stated made in France, it was likel . . . 2006 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: BLUE102CD
Double CD collection features remastered tracks from the 1943 Argentina Session along with those from the Capitol Records years. 2005 United Kingdom
catalog no: FT-03-0020
Cassette compilation with tracks from early 1943 Argentina Session. The cassette uses Dolby noise reduction and is marked as being stereo though the recordings are in monophonic 1988 Perú
Cassette features tracks from the Extremes of Yma Sumac's career with material from the early 1943 Argentina sessions and the 1991 German Mambo Confusion material. It was never sold and was made for archival purposes only. Only a few copies exist. 1998 United States
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