Yma Sumac Tribute
Hosted by Dixie Treichel on Fresh Fruit
Thursday November 27th from 7:30pm to 8:30pm
Many things were considered amazing about Yma Sumac, from her exotic costumes to her claims about being an Inca princess. But her extraordinary voice is what really made her special. Known as the Peruvian songbird, it ranged over more than four octaves. She stunned audiences globally throughout her long career. To this day Sumac, is considered to have one of the biggest vocal ranges of any singer.
Yma Sumac , who died on November 1, 2008, at age 86, was a Peruvian singer whose career started world wide in the 1950s when her extraordinary voice startled people on the album Voice of Xtabay (1950). The album went straight into the bestseller lists and was followed by Mambo!, arranged by Billy May, and Fuego del Ande (1959).
Her Spanish name was Zoila Augusta Emperatriz Chavárri del Castillo; her Indian name, which meant “how beautiful”, was Imma Sumack, which she later altered to Yma Sumac. Yma Sumac joined her husband’s Inca Taky Trio, which toured South America and Mexico and reached the United States in 1946. She played to packed houses at the Hollywood Bowl and New York’s Hotel Pierre and made two Hollywood films in 1954 & 1957. She toured North America with the Montreal and Toronto symphony orchestras, completed a concert tour of the West Coast and in 1961 toured the Soviet Union. Yma Sumac fell out of favour during the 1960s and spent the decade touring small venues. In 1972 she made Miracles, her first album for 13 years. However, her work continued to be featured occasionally in soundtracks for films, and she gradually acquired a cult following. Bruce Springsteen declared: “It takes only a fraction of a second to succumb to her unique voice.” During the early 1980s she recorded several more records and performed at Carnegie Hall and the Hollywood Bowl. In 1987 she appeared on a collection of Disney songs entitled Stay Awake. And in the 90’s she continued to perform in small venues, tour and also sang on The Big Lebowski soundtrack. This millennium has brought a handful of surprise personal appearances, the highlight of which resulted in Yma Sumac being awarded the Orden Del Sol of Peru in May of 2006.