Yma Sumac - Gopher Mambo (Capitol Records 1954)
- Published on: Saturday, January 5, 2013
- Mambo! is the fifth studio album by Peruvian soprano Yma Sumac. It was released on 1954 by Capitol Records. It was entirely composed by Moisés Vivanco.
Yma Sumac (September 13, 1922 - November 1, 2008) was a noted Peruvian singer. 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 four octaves" and was sometimes claimed to span even five octaves at her peak.
Stories published in the 1950s claimed that she was an Incan princess, directly descended from Atahualpa. Her New York Times obituary reported that "the largest and most persistent fabrication about Ms. Sumac was that she was actually a housewife from Brooklyn named Amy Camus, her name spelled backward. The fact is that the government of Peru in 1946 formally supported her claim to be descended from Atahualpa, the last Incan emperor".
Chávarri adopted the stage name of Imma Sumack (also spelled Ymma Sumack and Ima Sumack) before she left South America to go to the United States. The stage name was based on her mother's name, which was derived from Ima Shumaq, Quechua for "how beautiful!" although in interviews she claimed it meant "beautiful flower" or "beautiful girl".
Yma Sumac first appeared on radio in 1942. Sumac and orchestra and bandleader Moisés Vianco were married that year. She recorded at least 18 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 Sumack and Vivanco moved to New York City, where they performed as the Inka Taky Trio, Sumack singing soprano, Vivanco on guitar, and her cousin Cholita Rivero singing contralto and dancing. She was signed by Capitol Records in 1950, at which time her stage name became Yma Sumac.
During the 1950s, Yma Sumac produced a series of lounge music 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. Sumac appeared in a Broadway musical, Flahooley, in 1951, as a foreign princess who brings Aladdin's lamp to an American toy factory to have it repaired. The show's score was by Sammy Fain and E. Y. "Yip" Harburg, but Sumac's three numbers were the work of Vivanco with one co-written by Vivanco and Fain. Capitol Records, Sumac's label, recorded the show. Flahooley closed quickly, but the recording continues as a cult classic, in part because it also marked the Broadway debut of Barbara Cook. During the height of Sumac's popularity, she appeared in the films Secret of the Incas (1954) and Omar Khayyam (1957). She became a U.S. citizen on July 22, 1955. In 1959 she performed Jorge Bravo de Rueda's classic song "Vírgenes del Sol" on her album Fuego del Ande.
In 1992 Guenter Czernetzky directed a documentary for German television entitled Yma Sumac -- Hollywoods Inkaprinzessin (Yma Sumac -- Hollywood's Inca Princess).
With the resurgence of lounge music in the late 1990s, Sumac's profile rose again when the song "Ataypura" was featured in the Coen Brothers film, The Big Lebowski. Her song "Bo Mambo" appeared in a commercial for Kahlúa liquor and was sampled for the song "Hands Up" by The Black Eyed Peas. The song "Gopher Mambo" was used in the films Ordinary Decent Criminal, Dead Husbands, Spy Games, and Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. "Gopher Mambo" was also used in an act of the Cirque Du Soleil show Quidam. The songs "Goomba Boomba" and "Malambo No. 1" appeared in Death to Smoochy. Yma Sumac is also mentioned in the lyrics of the 1980s song Joe le taxi by Vanessa Paradis.
Yma Sumac died on November 1, 2008, aged 86 at an assisted-living home in Los Angeles, nine months after being diagnosed with colon cancer. She was interred at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Hollywood in the "Sanctuary of Memories" section.
- Source: https://youtu.be/7JWxNqyIRtk