Whip Dance - After the first few pressings, later releases with this song had the end chopped when the masters were apparently damaged. (Moisés Vivanco - 2:05)
Recorded in 1957
|Review and Analysis of Sejollo by Nicholas E. Limansky
From Yma Sumac - The Art Behind the Legend
used with permission - all rights reserved, © Nicholas E. Limansky
Read more on the Legacy of the Diva Web site!
|"A proud and brave people, the Jivaros developed many ways of testing themselves. One was the whip dance. Neighboring tribes lined up opposite each other, the elders armed with whips, the women sining, the young men dancing. An elder on one side would whip one of his own young men until the blood spurted from his body, but the dance would not stop, nor would the young man wince or cry. The rite would then be repeated by the other tribe in an effort to surpass his show of physical and moral strength." (Liner notes from 1956 pressing)
This song includes a male chorus who assertively grunt in agreement, as well as the sound of a whip crack. The accompaniment of drums, rattles and bone flutes support Yma's singing which lies in the middle register. After a spoken opening by Yma, women join the chorus and exclaim. At times, Yma's vocal line is impossibly ornate, crowded with triplets, turns, and intricate roulades of close intervals. Although she glides through all this with ease, she uses an odd, nasal, oriental sounding placement that is incongruous to the music. She caps the piece with a strong swoop to high D. This type of finish occurs often on this recording. There is one disconcerting thing about the new CD release of this particular song. At least for those familiar with the earlier, vinyl releases. There is an inexplicable editing of two of the final phrases causing the song to end more abruptly than in its original format.
Note: most releases containing this song use a cut version that is chopped during the last part leaving a noticable jump in the final notes. Apparently sometime in the early '60s, the master tapes were damaged.
The listing below lists releases with BOTH versions so please select the entry to see which it has. We have not yet gone through the extensive discography to see where the cut version was first used so some early vinyl releases below may be mismarked.