Yma Súmac RIP (1922 – 2008)

Yma Súmac RIP

Voice of the Xtabay

Voice of the Xtabay (1950)[1]

An xtabay is a femme fatale in Mesoamerican mythology.

Sumac was first brought to my attention via Incredibly Strange Music (on outsider music, lounge music and space age pop), but is also listed in David Toop‘s book Exotica: Fabricated Soundscapes in a Real World. Both volumes are recommended.


Secret of the Incas[2] (1954)

I mentioned her previously here[3].

Is she a World Music Classic or a guilty pleasure?

3 thoughts on “Yma Súmac RIP (1922 – 2008)

  1. sm

    “And so…in accordance with what we think your dying wishes might well have been, we commit your mortal remains to the bosom of….the Pacific Ocean, which you loved so well.”

    [i]Ataypura[/i] was also sublimely used in [i]The Big Lebowski[/i]..

  2. o.h.

    Don’t say “guilty pleasure”. If you’re guilty about it how can it be pleasurable? Why do you feel guilt about listening to music?

  3. lichanos

    Bravo, o.h! Even the most firmly highbrow need not feel guilty about listening to less than celestial music.. The phrase “guilty pleasure” is just a fig leaf for covering up one’s snobbism or laziness…I think. (Sorry, Jahsonic. I hate that phrase.)

    As for Sumac, thanks for the image of the Album cover. I recall hearing that one in high school at the house of a friend who seemed to have a limitless supply of this sort of off-the-wall culture. Really, to get the full stunning effect of her range you have to hear it in Hi-Fi, not low-quality Youtube.

Comments are closed.