Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Peruvian Princess - Yma Sumac

Born in 1922 in the town of Ichocan, Peru - a descendant of the last Peruvian Ruler Atahualpa - largely self-taught by listening to the sounds of the jungle and the birds high in the Andes - she took the world by storm in the 1950's with her stunning 5 Octave voice. Not only was her vocal range extraordinary but what is also remarkable is that she was able to keep her voice up through her older years. Even though she could not read music, her arrangements were classified as Exotica and so incredibly haunting that they are still used today. She could do things with her voice that just leave you breathless - she could mimic animals and birds, and go through all 5 octaves in one song. She sang before Queens and presidents around the world and was the only Peruvian to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

My question for you today is - had she been trained professionally - would it have made a difference in her voice? Did her extraordinary voice and unique style come because she was self-taught? What say you?

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