Today's Birthdays

one click shows all of today's celebrity birthdays

Browse All Birthdays

43,625    Actors
27,931    Actresses
4,867    Composers
7,058    Directors
842    Footballers
221    Racing drivers
925    Singers
9,111    Writers

Get FamousLikeMe on your website
One line of code gets FamousLikeMe on your website. Find out more.

Subscribe to Daily updates

Add to Google

privacy policy

Famous Like Me > Singer > S > Yma Sumac

Profile of Yma Sumac on Famous Like Me

Name: Yma Sumac  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 10th September 1922
Place of Birth: Ichocá, Peru
Profession: Singer
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia
Yma Sumac on the cover of her collection The Ultimate Yma Sumac Collection

Yma Sumac (born September 10, 1922?), also spelled Ymma Sumak, is a noted vocalist of Peruvian origin. In the 1950s she was one of the most famous proponents of exotica music. She is remembered chiefly for her amazing voice, which at the time, covered a range between four and five octaves (opinions differ). She is (to some controversy) credited with singing the highest note recorded by the female voice (surpassing Erna Sack) in the track "Chuncho" in one of her LPs.

Yma Sumac may have been born on September 10, 1922 in Ichocá, Peru as Zoila Augusta Emperatriz Chavarri del Castillo. Other dates mentioned in her various biographies range from 1921 to 1929. Some sources alternately claim that she was not born in Ichocán, but in a nearby village or possibly in Lima, and that her family owned a ranch in Ichocán where she spent most of her early life. It is also claimed that she is an Incan princess directly descended from Atahualpa. The story that she was actually born as Amy Camus (which is Yma Sumac read backwards) in Brooklyn or Canada seems to be a hoax.

She first appeared on radio in 1942, and married composer and bandleader Moisés Vivanco on June 6 the same year. Using the stage name Imma Sumack, she recorded at least eighteen tracks of Peruvian folk songs in Argentina in 1943. These early recordings for the Odeon label featured Moisés Vivanco's group, Compañía Peruana de Arte — a group of 46 Indian dancers singers and musicians. In 1946, Yma Sumac and Vivanco moved to New York City, where she performed with the Inca Taky Trio, with Moisés Vivanco on guitar, Yma Sumac's cousin Cholita Rivero singing contralto and dancing, and Yma Sumac providing the soprano, until being signed by Capitol Records in 1950.

During the 1950s, she produced a series of legendary lounge recordings featuring Hollywood-style versions of Incan and South American folk songs, working with the likes of Les Baxter and Billy May. The combination of her extraordinary voice, exotic looks and stage personality made her a hit with American audiences. During the height of her popularity, she appeared in the films Secret of the Incas (1954) and Omar Khayyam (1957); she became a U.S. citizen July 22, 1955.

In 1957, she and Vivanco divorced. They remarried in 1959 before divorcing again in 1965. They had one son, Charles, born in 1949. Apparently due to financial difficulties, Yma Sumac and the original Inca Taky Trio went on a world tour in 1961, which lasted for five years. They performed in 40 cities in the Soviet Union, and afterwards all over Europe, Asia and Latin America. Their performance in Bucharest, Romania was recorded as the album Recital, her only 'live in concert' record. Yma Sumac spent the rest of the 1960s performing sporadically.

In 1971, she released a rock album, called Miracles, and then returned to live in Peru. She performed in concert from time to time during the 1970s in Peru and later in New York. In the 1980s, she had a number of concerts both in the U.S. and abroad including at New York's The Ballroom in 1987 and several San Francisco shows at the Theatre on the Square among others. In 1987, she also recorded a song for Stay Awake, an album of songs from Disney movies, produced by Hal Willner.

In 1989, she sang once again at The Ballroom in New York. In March 1990, she played the role of Heidi in Stephen Sondheim's Follies, in Long Beach, California — her first attempt at 'serious theater' since Flahooley in 1951. She also did several concerts in the summer of 1996 in San Francisco and Hollywood and two more in Montreal, Canada in July 1997 as part of the Montreal International Jazz Festival. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

In 1992, Gunther Czernetsky directed a documentary titled Yma Sumac - Hollywoods Inkaprinzessin (Yma Sumac - Hollywood's Inca princess).


  • Voice of the Xtabay (1950), Capitol H-244 (10" LP)
  • Inca Taqui (1953), Capitol L-243 (10" LP)
  • Voice of the Xtabay, Capitol W-684 (both of the above on one 12" LP)
  • Legend of the Sun Virgin (1953), Capitol T-299
  • Mambo (1954), Capitol T-564
  • Legend of the Jivaro (1957), Capitol T-770
  • Fuego Del Andes (1959), Capitol ST 1169
  • Recital/Live in Bucharest (1961), ELECTRECOR EDE073
  • Miracles (1971), London XPS 608

This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Yma Sumac