Yma (ee-ma) Sumac was bom September 10, 1927, in the town of Ichocan, 16,000 feet high in the Andes of Peru.
Her lineage is not only noble, but actually royal. Her mother is a full-blooded Indian descended directly from Atahualpa, last of the Inca kings. Her father is part Spanish and is a well-to-do landowner. Yma Sumac, herself, is beloved wherever she goes; she is revered by her mountain people as a spiritual leader as well as a princess.
She began singing as a small child. Soon her unique gift, emphasized by her exotic beauty, caused the Inca authorities to designate her as their symbol, the favorite "Chosen Maiden" to sing at the festivals to the sun. By the time Yma was twelve, word of her extraordinary talent had filtered down through the mountains to Peruvian government officials in Lima. Led by the young composer-conductor, Carlos Moises Vivanco, an expedition persuaded Yma's family to bring her to Lima for education, an event which caused severe unrest among the mountain Indians who had placed the child in a position of semi-deity and resented losing her.
After completing her education, Vivanco prevailed upon Yma Sumac's family to allow his protégée to make a professional career of music. Since that time she has sung in the major concert halls and theatres of North as well as South America.
In North America Yma Sumac has appeared with the Montreal and Toronto symphony orchestras; she has completed a West Coast concert tour; she has won enthusiastic audiences in Carnegie Hall and in Hollywood Bowl, and has performed on many radio and television programs.
Those who have heard her at the Cotillion
Room of the swank Hotel Pierre and other famous night-spots have immediately succumbed to
her unique combination of personal charm and extraordinary musical skilla
combination which is preserved in these early but characteristic recordings.