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Steve the elf 12-12-2003 11:06 AM

Yma Sumac/Amy Camus
Hello Millions,

I really find myself in need of the definitive answer to this mystery. Was Pervian singer Yma Sumac really once bored housewife Amy Camus? We've all heard this for years. Her official website, naturally, does not mention the claim. Sites I've surfed on the web seem to say the Camus story has ben discredited, but I don't know how or by whom. I certainly don't buy the "princess" monicker, but she certainly seems to be South American. If Sumac never was Camus, then where did this story originate? I suppose many would say the point is moot, as she has one of the greatest voices in history, no matter where she came from, but my curiosity needs a expert opinion!

Thanks in advance.

Duck Duck Goose 12-12-2003 04:39 PM

No clue, sorry, but I'll bump this from page 2 for you, maybe somebody else will know.

RealityChuck 12-12-2003 06:18 PM

The IMDB says she was from Peru and that she made recordings in South America when she was a child. It also says that the "Amy Camus" story is an urban legend and was made up as a joke by muscians and picked up by Walter Winchell.

Since she had been billed as Ima and Imma Sumack before settling on Yma Sumac, it seems unlikely that the story is true, since there's be no reason to pick the "Amy Camus" anagram.

mrunlucky 12-12-2003 08:35 PM

Sun Virgin the "official, authorized" Yma Sumac site, has the dope on this legend. I don't know where you were looking Steve the elf, but here you go:

"On the way to New York's Roxy Theater on Broadway, one cold February evening in 1951, two musicians were walking along with Hernán Braña, Yma's flautist, drummer, and good friend . Yma was appearing on the same bill as Danny Kaye. Seeing YMA SUMAC in huge letters on the brightly lighted marquee overlooking "The Great White Way," one of the musicians laughingly turned to Hernán and the other musician and said: "Hey look, it's Amy Camus!" They all had a good laugh and repeated the story to the orchestra.

The story eventually reached Walter Winchell who stuck it in his column of usual vile slime. The entire story was made up for laughs. Amy Camus, the Jewish housewife from Brooklyn, was born in 1951 at the Roxy by a musician from Brooklyn having fun with Yma's unusual name. Yma thought the story was really funny and for publicity purposes, she subsequently accepted a presentation from the borough president as "Honorary Citizen of Brooklyn" in 1957. Anyone who knows or has heard Yma speak English recognizes that her charming accent is pure Peruvian, not anything resembling Brooklynese. "

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