Yma Sumac, RIP


Yma Sumac died Saturday at age 86. There may have been, at some point in human history, a singer with a wider vocal range than this woman. But that singer never entered a recording studio.

From the L.A. Times obituary:

With her exotic beauty, elaborate costumes and singing voice that could imitate the cries of birds and wild animals, the woman who claimed to be a descendant of an ancient Incan emperor offered Eisenhower-era audiences something unique.

If all the political coverage starts getting oppressive today, go over to YouTube and click through a bunch of Sumac's performances, which should prove that those "Eisenhower-era audiences" had a taste for stranger fare than many potted cultural histories would lead you to expect. If you want to begin with a familiar tune, start here.