Yma Sumac, the Peruvian songbird with the multi-octave range, floated off to heaven on Saturday at the age of 86. Yma’s personal assistant confirms to the L.A. Times that she passed away at an assisted-living facillity in Silver Lake, CA.
Yma was known as “The Queen of Exotica” and the “Nightingale of the Andes” when she took the music world by storm in the 1950s. Her majestic voice made hearts flutter and eardrums twitch! One writer said, “She warbles like a bird in the uppermost regions, hoots like an owl in the lowest registers, produces bell-like coloratura passages one minute, and exotic, dusky contralto tones the next.”
Yma, who claimed to be a descendant of an ancient Incan emperor, entertained audiences from Las Vegas to Broadway to Argentina. And now she’s serenading the archangels in heaven!
By the way, her cousin’s name is Cholita Rivera. She deserves VIP treatment in heaven for that little fact.
Below is a touching tribute to the “Peruvian Songbird.” You might want to turn down the volume, because Yma’s voice was too powerful for my pooch to bear! He ran into the bathroom and dunked his head into the toilet.
Rest in peace, Yma!