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In Focus: Yma Sumac

Los Angeles, 31.05.24

With Yma Sumac

Yma Sumac was a soprano widely known as the Queen of Exotica, a so-called Incan Princess with a 5-octave vocal range, or “the bird who turned into a beautiful woman.” Sumac was born in Peru in 1922, where she began her career developing her distinctive voice throughout Lima, performing solo and with different Andean folk music groups. However, Sumac lived most of her life in Los Angeles where she reached enormous success recording her genre-defying Exotica album, Voice of the Xtabay (Capitol Records, 1950), and appearing in films like Secret of the Incas.

Glamorous, visionary, and no stranger to controversy, Sumac embraced bold and eclectic artistry throughout her career and toured extensively worldwide, performing in multiple languages, from Quechua to Russian. She toured extensively worldwide and performed in multiple languages, from Quechua to Russian. Tune into one hour of Yma Sumac’s expansive discography, from huayño to opera, mambo, exotica, vals criollo, and rock.

Selected by Camila Palomino. Special thanks to Damon Devine and the Official Archives of Yma Sumac.

Image: Copyright Damon Devine / Official Yma Sumac Archives

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