Who Is Yma Sumac? Peruvian Singer Gets Own Google Doodle

Who Is Yma Sumac? Peruvian Singer Gets Own Google Doodle
Yma Sumac jm3 on Flickr / Flickr cc
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Google celebrated the life and achievements of Peruvian singer Yma Sumac, one of the major advocates of exotica music, by dedicating a Google doodle. The colourful reworking of the logo appeared on the search giant’s homepage on Wednesday.


Sumac was born as Zoila Augusta Emperatriz Chávarri del Castillo in September 1923, most likely in Callao, which is a sea coast in Peru. However, there is a debate over her exact birthdate which could either be September 10 or September 13. There are also claims that she was born in 1927.

Her father was part Spanish and her mother a pure Incan, the New York Times reported. She was also, reportedly, a descendant of the last Inca emperor Atahualpa and regarded herself as a princess. In 2006, she received Peru’s highest honour, the Orden del Sol.

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She began her career in music in 1942, recording songs and performing in Argentina. According to a report by the Cnet, she made her debut on the radio in 1942 and signed up for the Capitol Records in 1950.

“The creatures of the forest taught me how to sing,” Yma Sumac said in an interview with Newsday in 1989.

In 1946 she relocated to the United States and adopted her stage name, which was derived from her mother’s name. According to her bio, she said that the name meant a ‘beautiful flower’ or a beautiful girl,’ according to a report from Heavy.

She took a break from her singing career in the 1970s but eventually returned to performing at concerts and continued to perform till 1990s.

“The younger generation loves the music, loves Yma,” Sumac was quoted as saying by the Tampa Tribune in 1996. “The new generation told me many times: ‘Miss Yma, we love you. Your music is something. It’s out of this world.’”

According to Biography.com, Yma Sumac was married to bandleader and composer Moisés Vivanco and the couple had a son named Charles, who now lives in Europe. Sumac and Vivanco divorced twice, once in 1957 and then in 1965. Sumac died in Los Angeles in 2008.

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