July 30, 2007 8:03 PM   Subscribe

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!
posted by hermitosis (29 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
gimme some uma
posted by growabrain at 8:05 PM on July 30, 2007

Grow a brain.
posted by hermitosis at 8:08 PM on July 30, 2007

posted by Hat Maui at 8:10 PM on July 30, 2007

To quote an old friend of mine... Yma Sumac is HAWT.
posted by miss lynnster at 8:24 PM on July 30, 2007

I just learned that elegance at an old age = dramatic eyes + a wide-brimmed hat. I am filing this information away for a later date.
posted by piratebowling at 8:27 PM on July 30, 2007

!viva la diva!
posted by ameca at 8:31 PM on July 30, 2007

One of the great truly eccentric and unique vocalists. I really had no idea she was still alive and active. Thanks for the post.

Anybody remember the old rumors and speculation that she was actually a nice Jewich girl from the Bronx or some such, whose real name was Amy Camus? (backward spelling, you see...)
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:43 PM on July 30, 2007

Ahhh, no wonder she agreed to do "I Wonder" (cheesy google video link) on "Stay Awake"
posted by Eekacat at 8:48 PM on July 30, 2007

Yes, flapjax - I never knew much about Yma Sumac, but I too always thought her name was really Amy Camus! Where did I even hear that? I have no idea.
posted by pinky at 8:52 PM on July 30, 2007

Any relation to Albert?
posted by Eekacat at 9:09 PM on July 30, 2007

She addresses the matter in the interview on her site.
posted by hermitosis at 9:10 PM on July 30, 2007

Hooray! There was a comment in the Korla Pandit thread about the Amy Camus question, but it was only a comment. Everything I've ever read has her as Yma Sumac, including Incredibly Strange Music Volume II in which she is interviewed. And, for what it's worth, the wiki entry on her says it was false, and we all know they wouldn't lie.

On preview: dammit, I had to go get the book didn't I.
posted by sleepy pete at 9:14 PM on July 30, 2007

I stayed in the Hostal Yma Sumac in Aguas Calientes when I visited Machu Picchu. It was a great place - not too expensive, nice room, hot shower, very friendly desk guy we chatted with in broken spanglish.

Wonder if she collects royalties on the use of her name in Peru. Doubt it.

posted by fleetmouse at 9:21 PM on July 30, 2007

Wow. I'd read about her, but I'd only ever heard the Stay Awake track. She sounds like a human theremin!
posted by maryh at 9:22 PM on July 30, 2007

better to be feted in life than in death
posted by caddis at 9:28 PM on July 30, 2007

but better to be fetid in death than in life
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:42 PM on July 30, 2007

Today Miss Sumac resides in Los Angeles, CA, in great health and as of this writing, not ready to retire.

Alpaca lunch, dahling.
posted by rob511 at 9:47 PM on July 30, 2007

*adds "yma" to list of awesome names*
posted by mdonley at 9:56 PM on July 30, 2007

hermitosis, I fully expected your first comment to be: "Ha ha, just kidding, she's dead."
posted by IronLizard at 10:12 PM on July 30, 2007

Just promise me that I get to emcee the obituary thread when she does. I will drop into it from the ceiling dressed as Wonder Woman and land in the splits.
posted by hermitosis at 10:45 PM on July 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

She sounds like a human theremin!

Indeed, the first few times I heard her, I thought I was actually hearing a theremin that had been neatly edited into recordings of her singing. Either that, or a musical saw.

Not at all unlike Diamanda Galas dipped in fairy dust.
posted by treepour at 11:07 PM on July 30, 2007

*this is good*
posted by asok at 2:24 AM on July 31, 2007

My first exposure to her - and to the whole exotica genre - was when I decided to have a college radio show. Out of all the bands and groups, she was one of the most interesting people. At the time there were some dusty websites that seemed to imply she was still alive, back in 1997 when they'd last been updated. Good to see her again.
posted by cobaltnine at 4:42 AM on July 31, 2007

I think my first real adult bonding moment with my father (who is super-conservative and distant) came when a casual conversation about music led to him revealing that he was a huge Yma Sumac fan. He saw her perform multiple times in the 60's. My amazement was eclipsed by his greater amazement that I, too, am a fan. Nice how things sometimes work out.
posted by General Zubon at 11:01 AM on July 31, 2007

posted by ZachsMind at 4:28 PM on July 31, 2007

I thought the name sounded familiar, and sure enough when I check my iTunes the Blue Note Carnival album has three tracks by her, all of which I had already five-starred.
posted by furtive at 10:25 PM on July 31, 2007

You know who she looks like? Dita von Teese.

It's not just the makeup, either - their faces are very similar.
posted by watsondog at 11:44 PM on July 31, 2007

She's a perennial crossword clue, too.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:03 PM on August 2, 2007

a scratched to hell vinyl version of a record by yma sumac (which was amongst the few possessions he managed to take with him when the father in law of a friend of mine escaped from communist hungary in the fifties) was the soundtrack to the most interesting conversation i'd ever had with the most interesting person i'd ever met
posted by toycamera at 3:10 PM on August 3, 2007

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