Monday, November 03, 2008

Yma Sumac Died

I went to Antioch College in 1957. I had gone to high school in Chattanooga, Tennessee at the Girls Preparatory School. Coming from Tennessee, I was quite in awe of my sophisticated classmates who came from LA, Chicago and especially New York. One of the distinguishing features of the urbanites was their broad multicultural tastes in everything from food to 33 1/3 records. The most exotic LP record that several of them had was recordings of Yma Sumac, the "Peruvian Songbird", a woman renown for her wide range-- from high pitched lyricism to low rumble bass tones. I was enchanted and longed for an Yma Sumac record of my own. I never got one. Nowadays I could have made a copy on an ipod or a dub of a CD. Alas, in those days there was no way to DIY, so I was limited to checking out the somewhat scratched copy that the Antioch library held. As the needle descended to the uneven grooves of the plastic disk, I was transported to an exotic world-- one that hadn't been available in Chattanooga!

I just found out that she died. I had no idea she was still alive! RIP Yma, who could make magic in four octaves.

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Blogger Sailorgirl from Gibraltar said...

I saw her perform at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco in 1995. She wore lemon-yellow stilettos and a lizard-green dress, sequins like scales. She showed up for soundcheck with some kind of exotic lap dog in her fur coat, tucked into a special inside pocket.
XO Rach

12:41 PM  

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