Yma Sumac Photo

Yma Sumac

Born: Sep 13, 1922

Death: Nov 1, 2008

Birthplace: Cajamarca

Profession: Singer

Nationality: Peru

Yma Sumac

Date of Birth : Sep 13, 1922
Date of Death : Nov 1, 2008
Birth Place : Cajamarca

Yma Sumac was a Peruvian soprano. In the 1950s, she was one of the most famous proponents of exotica music. She became an international success based on her extreme vocal range, which was said to be "well over five octaves" or otherwise was claimed to span over five octaves, at the peak of her singing career. Yma Sumac recorded an extraordinarily wide vocal range of 5 octaves, 3 notes and a semitone ranging from E2 to B?7. In one live recording of "Chuncho", she sings a range of over four and a half octaves, from B1 to F#7. She was able to sing notes in the low baritone register as well as notes above the range of an ordinary soprano. Both low and high extremes can be heard in the song Chuncho. She was also apparently able to sing in an eerie "double voice". In 1954, classical composer Virgil Thomson described her voice as "very low and warm, very high and birdlike", noting that her range "is very close to five octaves, but is in no way inhuman or outlandish in sound". In 2012, audio recording restoration expert John H. Haley favorably compared Sumac's tone to opera singers Isabella Colbran, Maria Malibran and Pauline Viardot.


  • Singer

Also known as

  • Sumac, Yma
  • Yma Sumac
  • The Peruvian Songbird
  • Zoila Augusta Emperatriz Chavarri del Castill
  • Zoila Augusta Emperatriz Chavarri del Castillo
  • Yma Sumac


  • Moises Vivanco
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