September 13, 2016
Yma Sumac’s 94th birthday
Born Zoila Augusta Emperatriz Chávarri del Castillo in the mountains of Peru, Yma Sumac, or the “Peruvian songbird,” came into the world on this day in 1922. As a young girl, Yma would sing to rocks on her mountainside home, pretending they were her audience. As a teenager, Yma’s audience became very real when she was invited to sing on an Argentine radio station. After that moment, her astonishing five-octave vocal range captivated audiences in South America and beyond.
Yma arrived in the United States in 1946 and was signed by Capitol Records shortly after. During her 1950s prime, she sung at Carnegie Hall, the Hollywood Bowl, and Royal Albert Hall - to name a few.
Here’s to Yma, whose captivating voice will always be remembered.