Zoila Augusta Emperatriz Chavarri del Castillo was born in Cajamarca, Peru, September 13, 1922. She grew up in Peru—in a family she described as being descended from the Incan emperor Atahualpa (the government eventually supported this to be true)—and began performing in Lima before moving to the United States in 1946 where she embarked upon a singing career as Yma Sumac.
Her vocal range spanned four octaves and is rumored to have been up to five. She appeared in a Broadway Musical in 1951 and in films.
Her album Voice of Xtabay quickly sold 500,000 copies, and was No. 1 on Variety’s best-seller list at the end of 1950, surpassing albums by Bing Crosby and Ethel Merman, she would fetch $25,000 a performance in Las Vegas (at the time an unheard of number).
She was awarded the Order of the Sun by the Peruvian government in 2006. Performer Dita Von Teese cites her as a muse frequently. She passed away in LA at the age of 86. *It was impossible to pick a photo of her as they are all beautiful. Visit her website here: Yma Sumac News