catalog no: JOM-1027-5
A collection of, as the name implies, rare, live and classical recordings from many sources compiled into CD format. Almost eighty minutes playtime. The track listing is subject to frequent changes as more tracks are discovered.
A copy exists in the Archives in case there are specific questions about it. The Tiki logo is not on the actual artwork.
ShamLys Production - Monophonic / Stereo - 2011 United States Compact Disc
A native of the village of Ichocán, which is situated high in the Andes of Perú, Miss Sumac began singing at an early age. Her life story is often fictionalized and exaggerated on the liner notes of her various recordings giving her an aire of mystery, but Miss Sumac herself has always been quite open and forthcoming about her history and heritage. Her first commercial recordings, a series of singles that were recorded in a studio Argentina and released in 1943 under the name Imma Sumack, show her as she was: a Peruvian folk singer.
Here in the U.S., however, in order to find a nitch for her unique and completely self-trained voice, lush orchestrations were composed and her style became what is known today as Exotica. Ensconced by fabricated mystery, she recorded a series of albums throughout the 1950s for Capitol Records, each of which was reissued countless times in nearly every corner of the globe. She toured and performed all around the world, the longest of which abroad was a six month tour of the Soviet Union in 1961, where she had originally intended on visiting for only a couple weeks! The people there loved her and couldn't get enough so she sang to sold out crowds everywhere she went. An album was released in 1961 as a result of her shows in Bucharest, Romania, with the title of Recital, which was her only live in concert album to date.
Miss Sumac's next complete album, Miracles, was recorded in 1971 and features her voice against a heavy rock background where she sings ten wordless vocalizations using her unique improvisational skills. Because of an unfortunate legal issue with the liner notes and credits, the album, which had at least six issues in different countries, was quickly pulled from stores and was never reissued until it appeared on compact disc in 1998 under the title of Yma Rocks! with two additional tracks that were missing from the original album. She recorded a track for a Disney compilation called Stay Awake in 1988 and Miss Sumac herself produced a compact disc dance single in 1991, called Mambo Confusion, using new vocals blended in and remixed with one of her Mambo! tracks from 1953. This latest release, which was issued only in Germany on both Compact Disc and vinyl, also had legal issues and was short lived. More recently, Capitol Records themselves offered a compilation compact disc called, Electro Lounge, where, once again, one of Miss Sumac's Mambo! pieces was remixed with new instrumentation, and on the same album, her voice was also added electronically to a Martin Denny remix, where it was uncredited in the album notes.
So sit back, close your eyes, and enjoy!
Track 1 - Hymn to the Sun Virgin (Taita Inty)
This track marks the first appearance of the piece that went on to become Taita Inty, and provides a fascinating contrast to the version that was later released on Voice of the Xtabay in 1950. This piece was likely a demo that was recorded for Capitol in 1949. Although it is called "take one," there is no orchestra present: only rattles, guitar, quena, drums and Yma's special brand of singing. The release of this selection is of prime importance in the Sumac canon because it gives a good example of her performing practices of one of her most famous pieces when in her prime and BEFORE Voice of the Xtabay was actually recorded.
Track 2 - Claire de Lune
One of the very few classical pieces that Miss Sumac performed was this one by Claude Debussy, performed here as only Yma Sumac can. Arranged by Moisés Vivanco to take advantage of her range, it is unfortunate that she never recorded it commercially and all that remains are a few non-professional recordings from various shows through the years. This particular version, taken from a radio broadcast from 1953, shows her at her prime. Here, she was accompanied by a full orchestra, while later shows of the '70s found her accompanied only with piano.
Track 3 - I Wonder
From Sleeping Beauty and recorded in 1988, this track was part of a collection of Disney tunes as performed and interpreted by a variety of musical stars from all genres. Yma Sumac sings here in English, in her most recent commercial recording to date. Most of the Disney pieces were quite short and never intended as full length songs, but with some clever non-verbal vocalese at the beginning, Miss Sumac fills it in quite nicely and makes it her very own.
Track 4 - Negrito Filomeno
A duet with Yma Sumac's cousin, Cholita Rivero, this "alternate take" is more authentic than the version released later on the 1952 Legend of the Sun Virgin album and more closely resembles what she sang in public, with rattles, flute, guitar and percussion providing the accompaniment. This is very likely one of the original demo disks that were recorded in 1949 at the Nola Studios in Manhattan. The recording sonics more closely resemble those of the early Hymn to the Sun Virgin (Taita Inty) rather than the clean, clear sonics of the typical Legend of the Sun Virgin recording sessions.
Track 5 - Inca Waltz
One of the most beautiful and haunting songs ever recorded by Yma Sumac, Inca Waltz is one of our favorite songs by her. Probably recorded as part of the 1952 Legend of the Sun Virgin sessions, it is sung mostly in her lower registers and offers a view into her music and voice as no other piece she has ever recorded.
Track 6 - Najala's Lament
Track 8 - Birds
Track 21 - Najala's Song of Joy
Yma Sumac's first venture onto the stage was in 1951 with the Broadway musical, Flahooley. A soundtrack album was released, which actually came out after the show had ended its run, with these three songs featuring Miss Sumac. Birds was the embryonic version of the one song that showed most of her incredible range, the 1953 Inca Taqui track, Chuncho.
Track 7 - Chicken Talk
Track 12 - Montana
Track 15 - No Es Vida
Track 17 - Huayno
Track 20- Malambo #1
Part of Yma Sumac's 1953 Mambo! sessions, these five instrumentals by themselves show just how much of Miss Sumac herself went into the melodies. Although they stand well alone, those familiar with the Mambo! album will realize that without her voice, most of these are rhythm only. In listening to them, one can just imagine Miss Sumac in the studio listening along, and perhaps even tapping her toe to the tempo, while preparing herself for what was to come once she began singing! Both Chicken Talk and Huayno have alternate vocal versions on this collection. Please see notes for tracks 11 and 27.
Track 9 - Xtabay
This boy / girl duet between Yma Sumac and an uncredited male vocalist was an attempt to get Yma Sumac's material into more of a mainstream sector of broadcast radio. Never recorded or performed this way originally, it was an early "remix" with the vocals added and mixed in after Miss Sumac's 1950 studio recording was completed.
Track 10 - Parade
Recorded in 1971 for the Miracles album, but never issued until its appearance on the 1998 compact disc reissue Yma Rocks!, this is one of several duets on this collection and this track is probably one of the most unusual in that it was actually an early studio "take" done for practice with producer Robert Covais singing along in places to show Miss Sumac what he wanted. Although never completed for release in 1971, it has been completed and fully mastered here.
Track 11 - Chicken Talk
This alternate version of the 1953 Mambo! song differs in the level of excitement supplied by Yma Sumac and the musicians. This mainly has to do with tempi choices more than anything else and is more like the version that she sang during live performances.
Track 13 - Wimoweh
Track 25 - Babalu
These two songs were recorded at the Pierre Hotel, New York City, April 21,1952 and released as a single. Although Yma Sumac had many, many singles in both the 10" 78 rpm and 7" 45 rpm formats, these appeared ONLY in that format, as opposite sides of the same disk, and released in plain sleeves in both formats. There were no "picture cover" versions and they were never part of any of Miss Sumac's albums, probably because they did not suit any of her albums' themes.
Track 14 - Moscow Nights
Recorded live in an outdoor plaza in the town center of Cajamarca, Perú in 1973, this recording shows Yma Sumac singing in Russian. Having learned the tune during her six month tour of the Soviet Union in 1961, it became one of the staples of her live performances later on, but was never recorded commercially.
Track 16 - Chuncho
After its introduction as Birds in the 1951 Broadway show, Flahooley, the song went on to be performed by Yma Sumac as, Chuncho (or sometimes, Chunchu in show programs) during her live shows, and recorded on her 1953 album, Inca Taqui. Here is a rare live version from a 1953 radio broadcast that is longer than the commercial release, and finds Miss Sumac's voice and technique in excellent condition.
Track 18 - One More Kiss
In 1990, Yma Sumac once again returned to the serious stage by having a small part in Follies, which was about a group of one-time stars, now fading, who are gathered together at the theater where they once performed, and which is about to be demolished. In remberances of days gone by, each has a "younger self" and here, Miss Sumac, as Heidi, sings a duet with hers. This non-professional recording is the only one known to exist of her performance.
Track 19 - O Mio Babbino Caro
This Puccini piece marks another of Yma Sumac's rare venture into the classical area. From a 1953 radio broadcast, Miss Sumac's voice is at its prime. As with Claire de Lune above, this piece was performed occasionally in concerts through the years but few had her accompanied by full orchestration as she was in this early version, and sadly, it was never recorded commercially.
Track 22 - Savage Rock
As with Parade, recorded in 1971 as part of the Miracles album, this track never saw the light of day until its appearance in 1998 on Yma Rocks!, the Compact Disc reissue of that album. Both were remastered from the original master tapes, and given a somewhat different mix than they had originally, mainly in an attempt to finish them for release as they were never completed in 1971.
Track 23 - Virgins of the Sun (Virgenes del Sol)
Marking the first time that Yma Sumac recorded an album in true stereo, her 1959 LP, Fuego del Ande took her back to her roots as a folk singer. A little known fact was that the monophonic and stereophonic versions of the LP were recorded separately for the most part, which is very apparent on several of the tracks. Because of the novelty of stereo, it was usually overdone with exaggerated separation between the left and right speakers, giving the stereo versions an odd and unnatural audio illusion. By 1959 when this album was released, many people had stereo players so that version was the one usually purchased, while the mono version was seldomly heard. The version of Virgenes del Sol here shows the cleaner, clearer and crisper mono release.
Track 24 - Sojello
Sometime close to twenty years ago, the studio master of this 1957 Legend of the Jivaro track was somehow damaged and never properly repaired, with all releases after that having an odd chop at the end where a whole section of the song was missing in the fadeout. Here it is as it was originally released, complete and intact!
Track 26 - Classical Gas
In 1972, Miss Sumac took part in a television show called Fol-de-Rol, which was produced by puppeteers Sid and Marty Krofft. It was a medieval comedy with an all star cast. Yma Sumac appeared for the first time in the show near the middle, after an instrumental and dance introduction to the tune of Classical Gas. Miss Sumac began by singing a heavily modified version of one of her early recordings, then transposed it back into Classical Gas herself as she sang to the accompaniment of an orchestra - with harpsichord, no less! It was her only complete song in the show but later in her role as a witch (complete with black pointed hat, hooked nose and a wart!), she added her voice here and there to the sound effects, and even had a couple "soft shoe" song-and-dance numbers with the ensemble.
Track 27 - Huayno
Having appeared in both vocal and instrumental form (see track 18 on this collection) on several recent compilations, this otherwise previously unreleased vocal was apparently recorded as part of the 1953 Mambo! sessions, but not used. It is very similar to other pieces both in melody and lyrics, however, making its exact origin difficult to determine.