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Recording Details
Voice of the Xtabay

catalog no: CD-244
This was Yma Sumac's first album after arriving in the United States in 1946. Before that, she recorded a number of sides in Argentina in 1943.

A review is available. A copy exists in the Archives in case there are specific questions about it. The Tiki logo is not on the actual artwork.

Capitol Records - Monophonic - 1950 United States   78 rpm Album

Historical notes
Liner Notes
The Xtabay
(from an ancient legend)

The Xtabay is the most elusive of all women. You seek her in your flight of desire and think of her as beautiful as the morning sun touching the highest mountain peak, her voice calls to you in every whisper of the wind. The lure of her unknown love becomes ever stronger, and a virgin who might have consumed your nights with tender caresses now seems less than the dry leaves of winter. For you follow the call of the Xtabay... though you walk alone through all your days.

When you play the records in this album, prepare for an exotic musical experience - a voyage of discovery into a new land of sound.

"There is no voice like it in the world of music today", said Glenn Dillard Gunn of the Washington Times-Herald. "It has a greater range than any female voice of concert or opera. It soars into the acoustic stratosphere, or plumbs sub-contralto depths of pitch with equal ease. Such voices happen only once in a generation."

In Buenos Aires, La Prensa said, "The greatest musical revelation of our times."

In Rio de Janeiro, O Globe commented, "Yma Sumac dominates the artistic sensibilities of all Brazil with her magic and divine voice ... the problems of our modern world are forgotten through the magnetism of this fabulous gift which comes to us, directly descended from Atahualpa, last of the Inca kings."

And in Los Angeles, Albert Goldberg of the Times said: "... to hear her weave that fantastic counterpoint over the complex rhythms of her accompaniment is at last to experience something new in music."

Everywhere the story has been the same. Yma Sumac is more than a great singer; she is a major discovery in the world of music; an unbelievably beautiful creation of nature invoice, face and form.

For how is it possible for one voice to plumb the lowest depths of the vocal range with moving timbre and richness... then, in a few dazzling steps, to "soar into the acoustic stratosphere" with thrilling clarity and brilliance? Yet it is all one voice - one alluring young woman - with over four octaves at her command!

Small wonder than in the land of the Incas, Yma Sumac assumed an almost deified position as "the bird who became a woman," and the "voice of the earthquake." No one in her native village if Ichocan, 16,000 feet high in the Andes of Peru, had ever heard such a voice in human form when this "chosen maiden" sang at their annual festivals of the sun.

No one in the big cities below had heard such a voice, either. So when exciting rumors of her rare talent and beauty reached officials of the Peruvian government, they arranged to bring Yma Sumac down to the coastlands... a decision that almost caused an uprising among some thirty thousand Indians over the loss of their revered ritual singer.

And so this child of the Andes peaks sang with the same magnificence and abandon for the cities, the concert-goers, the sophisticates of large cities. Audiences first drawn by the appeal of novelty, remained as transfixed with admiration as the highland natives.

Here Capitol is privileged to present the first North American recordings that Yma Sumac has ever made. It is fitting that she has chosen songs from her own Inca background, using the music of Moises Vivanco, world's foremost authority on ancient Inca themes, and the man who first introduced her to the concert world.

Additional original music was written by conductor Leslie Baxter. Much credit goes to him for his capacity to retain the essential spirit and character of the native music in all its thrilling authenticity. In collaboration with Maestro Vivanco he has woven fragments of traditional themes, native chants and forbidden ritual into tapestries of sound that are as fresh, new and exciting as the beautiful Yma Sumac who sings them.

(select song title to see other recordings with it)


    1. Xtabay    (Les Baxter, John Rose) - 3:16
    2. Wayra    (Moisés Vivanco, Les Baxter) - 2:56
    3. Accla Taqui    (Moisés Vivanco, Les Baxter) - 2:43
    4. Choladas    (Moisés Vivanco, Les Baxter) - 2:34
    5. Taita Inty    (Moisés Vivanco, Les Baxter) - 2:57
    6. Ataypura!    (Moisés Vivanco, Les Baxter) - 2:58
    7. Tumpa!    (Moisés Vivanco, Les Baxter) - 3:16
    8. Monos    (trad., arr. Moisés Vivanco, Les Baxter) - 2:37
    9. total play time (approx): 23:17

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