Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Rewind: Yma Sumac - Voice Of The Xtabay

One thing: that voice. It's unreal. Voice Of The Xtabay showcases Yma Sumac's otherwordly vocals, from operatic highs, to low, guttural growls.

Born in Peru, Yma Sumac's claim to fame is a four-octave (five at her peak) soprano. She could also sing as low as baritone, and produced this creepy "double voice" sound that I can only compare to the Tuvan throat singers of Sibera.

Most people associate her with mambo, but I love the eerie "Chuncho," from the aforementioned, Voice of the Xtabay, which showcases the full range of her amazing voice.

Yma Sumac died in 2008.


  1. Kate Miller-Heidke can do that double-voiced thing, and the growly thing too. She likes to add a lot of highs and lows in and was also trained theatrically. Much more pop, though. Like here: http://www.amazon.com/Politics-In-Space/dp/B002X1Z6DA/ref=dm_ap_trk38

  2. Cool, thanks. It's a hard sound to describe, and the only thing I could think to compare it was Tuvan throat singing, which it really isn't.

    There are women throat singers -- Inuit throat singers -- but it's a completely different sound.