Yma Sumac Biography (Wikipedia)
Yma Sumac (September 13, 1922, or September 10, 1923 – November 1, 2008), sometimes spelled Yma Súmac, was a Peruvian soprano. In the 1950s, she was one of the most famous proponents of exotica music.
Sumac became an international success based on her extreme vocal range, which was said to be "well over five octaves" at the peak of her singing career.
Sumac recorded an extraordinarily wide vocal range of 5 octaves, 3 notes and a semitone ranging from E2 to B♭7 (approximately 107 Hz to 3.7 kHz). In one live recording of "Chuncho", she sings a range of over four and a half octaves, from B2 to F♯7. She was able to sing notes in the low baritone register as well as notes above the range of an ordinary soprano and notes in the whistle register. Both low and high extremes can be heard in the song Chuncho (The Forest Creatures) (1953). She was also apparently able to sing in an eerie "double voice".
In 1954, classical composer Virgil Thomson described Sumac's voice as "very low and warm, very high and birdlike", noting that her range "is very close to five octaves, but is in no way inhuman or outlandish in sound". In 2012, audio recording restoration expert John H. Haley favorably compared Súmac's tone to opera singers Isabella Colbran, Maria Malibran, and Pauline Viardot. He described Súmac's voice as not having the "bright penetrating peal of a true coloratura soprano", but having in its place "an alluring sweet darkness...virtually unique in our time".
Yma Sumac Tracks