Yma Sumac, Rest In Peace

I loved your voice and exotic persona. In the "early days" working in a long hours never sitting kinda job in a vinty clothing store we danced around to your music to stay happy, composed stories and poems to you for fun :) I hope you knew how happy you made so many people. Go on your way now darling lady to entertain the stars in the sky.

Yma Sumac, the soprano known as the Peruvian songbird for her vast vocal range, has died at the age of 86.

Famed for her modern versions of South American folk music, Sumac died of colon cancer in Los Angeles, where she had lived for 60 years, an aide said.

Yma Sumac stunned audiences with her soaring, warbling voice which spanned more than four octaves.

Her striking raven-hair and flamboyant outfits made her a popular figure for American audiences in the 1950s. And in the land of her birth, glowing press tributes have been paid to the only Peruvian to have been written into Hollywood's Walk of Fame, our correspondent says.

Born Zoila Augusta Emperatriz Chavarri del Castillo in Cajamarca, northern Peru, she changed her name to Yma Sumac - which means "How Pretty" in Peru's indigenous Quechua language.

But while she may have surrounded herself with myths about her life and background, her voice was truly extraordinary, our correspondent says.

She stunned audiences from Europe to Japan, starred in Broadway musicals and played exotic roles in several Hollywood films, including The Secret of the Inca alongside Charlton Heston.

Her fame faded in the 1960s, but was revived in the 1990s through its use in the cult Coen Brothers' film The Big Lebowski, which brought her music to new fans.

Asked about the legendary French singer Edith Piaf in an interview with AP earlier this year, US comedian Jon Stewart quipped: "She's no Yma Sumac."

Shortly before her death Sumac said she wanted to be remembered for making good music and bringing happiness into people's hearts.

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