Emperatriz Chavarri, 10 September 1927, Ichocan, Peru. A flamboyant singer, of striking appearance, who was the subject of a series of publicity campaigns designed to shroud her origins in mystery: was she an Inca princess, one of the chosen Golden Virgins? Or a Brooklyn housewife named Amy Camus (Yma Sumac spelt backwards)? Whatever the doubts as to her heritage, what was abundantly genuine was Sumacs four octave range, ascending from female baritone, through lyric soprano, to high coloratura. Reportedly, she was the sixth child of an Indian mother and a mixed Indian and Spanish father, and was raised a Quechuan. After performing in local Indian festivals, she moved with her family to Lima, and joined the Compania Peruana de Arte, a group of 46 Indian dancers, singers and musicians. In 1942, Sumac married the Companias leader, musician and composer Moises Vivanco, and four years later, travelled to New York with him and her...
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