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‘Yma was in a league of her own… with her voice she knew how to create sounds that perhaps no other human being was capable of making.” Juan Garcia Esquivel

The “Nightingale of the Andes”, the voice of birds and earthquakes, the Peruvian soprano Yma Sumac was the most singular and vivacious of recording artists. Her other-worldly vocal gymnastics, a freakish four octave range delivered with sensitivity and power, were without peer in her day and still sound like nothing on Earth. Her natural versatility was such that the Spanish composer Manuel de Falla advised her to sing spontaneously and to avoid formal music teaching at all costs.

The Quintessence spans the halcyon days of the 1950s, featuring the six albums which, taken together, have permanently crystallised the myth of Yma Sumac. From the torrid landscape of sensual exoticism that is the Voice of the Xtabay – her genre-defining, best-selling collaboration with Les Baxter – through the hot mambos and languid perfumed psychedelia which underpins her subsequent North American productions, created by her conductor, composer and (then) husband, Moises Vivanco.

The triumphs of Voice of the Xtabay were but a prelude to the international successes Yma was to enjoy. In the sixties, a mammoth tour of Russia found her performing to a total of 70 million spectators. The campaign lasted six months and culminated in ten nights at the Tchaikovsky Opera House and meetings with Premier Khrushchev and the composers Shostakovich and Khachaturian.

Legend has it that Yma was an authentic Incan princess, a descendant of Atahualpa, the last king of the Incas, who was slain by the Spanish in 1533. “She was definitely an Inca Princess,” said Les Baxter, “but she was South American, plus Inca, you know, mestizo. Unfortunately, that made for a very volatile person, very temperamental, very fiery. One moment she was, ‘I love you, you are marvellous, I kill you!’ All in one paragraph. And she really did say, ‘I kill you’. I thought I was going to die right there and then. But she was a marvellous talent. I think she was really mad at me but I don’t know why.”

TRACK LISTING

DISC ONE

VOICE OF THE XTABAY (1950)

1. TAITA INTY (VIRGIN OF THE SUN GOD)
2. ATAYPURA! (HIGH ANDES!)
3. ACCIA TAQUI (CHANT OF THE CHOSEN MAIDENS)
4. TUMPA! (EARTHQUAKE!)
5. CHOLADAS (DANCE OF THE MOON FESTIVAL)
6. WAYRA (DANCE OF THE WINDS)
7. MONOS (MONKEYS)
8. XTABAY (LURE OF THE UNKNOWN LOVE)
9. XTABY (LURE OF THE UNKNOWN LOVE) (ALTERNATE TAKE – BOY AND GIRL
VERSION)

LEGEND OF THE SUN VIRGIN (1952)
10. KARIBE TAQUI
11. WITALLIA! (FIRE IN THE ANDES)
12. LAMENT
13. KON TIKI
14. MONTANA
15. ZANA
16. NO ES VIDA
17. KUYAWAY (INCA LOVE SONG)
18. SURAY SURITA
19. MAMALLAY!
20. PANARIMA
21. CCORI CANASTITAY

SELECTIONS FROM FLAHOOLEY ORIGINAL BROADWAY CAST RECORDING (1951)
22. BIRDS / ENCHANTMENT
23. NAJLA’S LAMENT
24. NAJLA’S SONG OF JOY / ARABIAN FOR “GET HAPPY”

25. INCA WALTZ
26. BABALU (1952 SINGLE)

DISC TWO

MAMBO! (1954)

1. BO MAMBO
2. TAKI RARI
3. GOPHER
4. CHICKEN TALK
5. GOOMBA BOOMBA
6. MALAMBO NO. 1
7. FIVE BOTTLES MAMBO
8. INDIAN CARNIVAL
9. CHA CHA GITANO
10. JUNGLA
11. CARNAVALITO BOLIVIANO

INCA TAQUI (CHANTS OF THE INCAS) (1953)
12. K’ARAWI (PLANTING SONG)
13. CUMBE-MAITA (CALLS OF THE ANDES)
14. WAK’AL (CRY)
15. INCACHO (ROYAL ANTHEM)
16. CHUNCHO (THE FOREST CREATURES)
17. LLULLA MAK’TA (ANDEAN DON JUAN)
18. MALAYA! (MY DESTINY)
19. RIPUI (FAREWELL)

DISC THREE

LEGEND OF THE JIVARO (1957)

1. JIVARO
2. SEJOLLO (WHIP DANCE)
3. YAWAR (BLOOD FESTIVAL)
4. SHOU CONDOR (GIANT CONDOR)
5. SAUMA (MAGIC)
6. NINA (FIRE ARROW DANCE)
7. SANSA (VICTORY SONG)
8. HAMPI (MEDICINE)
9. SUMAC SORATEÑA (BEAUTIFUL JUNGLE GIRL)
10. AULLAY (LULLABY)
11. BATANGA-HAILLI (FESTIVAL)
12. WANKA (THE SEVEN WINDS)

FUEGO DEL ANDE (FIRE OF THE ANDES) (1959)
13. LA MOLINA (THE MILL SONG)
14. LA FLOR DE CANELA (CINNAMON FLOWER)
15. GALLITO CALIENTE (THE HOT ROOSTER)
16. LA PAMPA Y LA PUÑA (THE PLAINS AND THE MOUNTAINS)
17. DALE QUE DALE! (THE WORKERS SONG)
18. LLORA CORAZON (CRYING HEART)
19. A LA HUACACHINA (ENCHANTED LAKE)
20. LA PERLA DE CHIRA (THE PEARL)
21. MI PALOMITA (MY PIGEON)
22. VIRGENES DEL SOL (VIRGINS OF THE SUN)
23. GALLITO CIEGO (ONE-EYED ROOSTER)
24. CLAMOR (I WON’T FORGET YOU)

Artists

Barcode

5013929335004

Format

,

Genre

DISC ONE

VOICE OF THE XTABAY (1950)

1. TAITA INTY (VIRGIN OF THE SUN GOD)
2. ATAYPURA! (HIGH ANDES!)
3. ACCIA TAQUI (CHANT OF THE CHOSEN MAIDENS)
4. TUMPA! (EARTHQUAKE!)
5. CHOLADAS (DANCE OF THE MOON FESTIVAL)
6. WAYRA (DANCE OF THE WINDS)
7. MONOS (MONKEYS)
8. XTABAY (LURE OF THE UNKNOWN LOVE)
9. XTABY (LURE OF THE UNKNOWN LOVE) (ALTERNATE TAKE - BOY AND GIRL
VERSION)

LEGEND OF THE SUN VIRGIN (1952)
10. KARIBE TAQUI
11. WITALLIA! (FIRE IN THE ANDES)
12. LAMENT
13. KON TIKI
14. MONTANA
15. ZANA
16. NO ES VIDA
17. KUYAWAY (INCA LOVE SONG)
18. SURAY SURITA
19. MAMALLAY!
20. PANARIMA
21. CCORI CANASTITAY

SELECTIONS FROM FLAHOOLEY ORIGINAL BROADWAY CAST RECORDING (1951)
22. BIRDS / ENCHANTMENT
23. NAJLA'S LAMENT
24. NAJLA'S SONG OF JOY / ARABIAN FOR "GET HAPPY"

25. INCA WALTZ
26. BABALU (1952 SINGLE)

DISC TWO

MAMBO! (1954)

1. BO MAMBO
2. TAKI RARI
3. GOPHER
4. CHICKEN TALK
5. GOOMBA BOOMBA
6. MALAMBO NO. 1
7. FIVE BOTTLES MAMBO
8. INDIAN CARNIVAL
9. CHA CHA GITANO
10. JUNGLA
11. CARNAVALITO BOLIVIANO

INCA TAQUI (CHANTS OF THE INCAS) (1953)
12. K'ARAWI (PLANTING SONG)
13. CUMBE-MAITA (CALLS OF THE ANDES)
14. WAK'AL (CRY)
15. INCACHO (ROYAL ANTHEM)
16. CHUNCHO (THE FOREST CREATURES)
17. LLULLA MAK'TA (ANDEAN DON JUAN)
18. MALAYA! (MY DESTINY)
19. RIPUI (FAREWELL)

DISC THREE

LEGEND OF THE JIVARO (1957)

1. JIVARO
2. SEJOLLO (WHIP DANCE)
3. YAWAR (BLOOD FESTIVAL)
4. SHOU CONDOR (GIANT CONDOR)
5. SAUMA (MAGIC)
6. NINA (FIRE ARROW DANCE)
7. SANSA (VICTORY SONG)
8. HAMPI (MEDICINE)
9. SUMAC SORATEÑA (BEAUTIFUL JUNGLE GIRL)
10. AULLAY (LULLABY)
11. BATANGA-HAILLI (FESTIVAL)
12. WANKA (THE SEVEN WINDS)

FUEGO DEL ANDE (FIRE OF THE ANDES) (1959)
13. LA MOLINA (THE MILL SONG)
14. LA FLOR DE CANELA (CINNAMON FLOWER)
15. GALLITO CALIENTE (THE HOT ROOSTER)
16. LA PAMPA Y LA PUÑA (THE PLAINS AND THE MOUNTAINS)
17. DALE QUE DALE! (THE WORKERS SONG)
18. LLORA CORAZON (CRYING HEART)
19. A LA HUACACHINA (ENCHANTED LAKE)
20. LA PERLA DE CHIRA (THE PEARL)
21. MI PALOMITA (MY PIGEON)
22. VIRGENES DEL SOL (VIRGINS OF THE SUN)
23. GALLITO CIEGO (ONE-EYED ROOSTER)
24. CLAMOR (I WON'T FORGET YOU)