Yma Sumac live in concert

With regard to your review of Yma Sumac’s Live in Concert CD, you are correct on most things but you do not have the background of the CD. The CD you are referring to, Yma Sumac Live in Concert 1961: The Russian Tour, was a bootleg that was made from a cassette tape recording of a 1961 LP called Recital on the Electrecord label from Bucharest, Romania of a concert there that same year. It was not from Russia at all and the CD was made in the United States. The Elect label of the bootleg CD does not even exist, but is a play on words of the Romanian label, Electrecord. The concert was part of Yma Sumac’s tour of the Soviet Union which lasted for about six month where she performed for millions of people and many heads of state. It is in part that it is a bootleg that it has the poor sound quality but also it is because the original LPs themselves often suffered quality-control issues so that mint copies sometimes won’t even play properly all the way through!

With that said, there is a new CD release that was made directly from the Electrecord master tapes called Recital, which was the name of the original LP. This new CD is available currently and has been reorganized into the playing order in which the material was likely performed and includes an instrumental overature opening the show that was missing from all other releases. The sound quality on this new release is phenomonal. The extensive booklet features photos taken at the very show where the recording was made and also has analysis of each song with a translation of the original show program!

Of note is that some of the original Electrecord LPs, both 10″ and 12″, contained voice introductions to each song while other pressings do not have these intros. Neither of the CD releases have them but the new Recital release has translations of them in its booklet. There were also at least two different Electrecord label designs and there were several 45rpm and even some 78rpm singles available from Electrecord in 1961. While made in Bucharest, Romania, there were at least two releases that targed the German market, one of which had a large sticker in German covering the Romanian liner notes and another that had the track listing printed on the sleeve in German. More details can be found on SunVirgin.com.

From DON PIERSON