When the Andean exotica singer Yma Sumac became famous in the United States for her supposed Inca heritage and five-octave voice, her fellow Peruvians called her a sellout. UC Davis professor Zoila Mendoza, however, knew Yma Sumac as her mother’s childhood friend.
Often cited as a direct inspiration for Indiana Jones, Charlton Heston is Harry Steele. Steele is a treasure hunting gigolo hot on the trail of an ancient Incan artifact in Jerry Hopper's 1954 Secret of the Incas. The film opens with a song featuring the beautiful soprano of the illustrious Zoila Augusta Emperatriz Chávarri del Castillo, better known by her stage name of Yma Sumac(previously and previously). The song may be familiar to fans of The Big Lebowski. [more inside]
The Exotica Project. One Hundred 45s, presented here to say simply that "Les Baxter, Martin Denny, Arthur Lyman and Yma Sumac are only the tip of exotica." Organized helpfully into several categories, including Polynesian/Pacific Theme and Maritime/Castaway Theme and even Wordless Vocals. Compiled by the keeper of Office Naps.
She was the voice of exotica. Rumored to be a Brooklyn housewife named Amy Camus, she was, in fact, native Peruvian with a voice of three octaves, Yma Sumac's singing graced the exotic easy listening albums of Les Baxter and Billy May. Yma Sumac died today at age 86. (Via) [more inside]
After so many obituary threads, you will be happy to know that Yma Sumac, your favorite four-octave-ranged Peruvian diva (YouTube links) is alive and well and supporting universal healthcare at 85 years of age. Photos then and now. Yma is still communicating with fans and making appearances. Long live the Incan Queen!