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The Los Angeles Times has the sad news:

Yma Sumac, the Peruvian-born singer whose spectacular multi-octave vocal range and exotic persona made her an international sensation in the 1950s, has died. She was 86. Sumac, who was diagnosed with colon cancer in February, died Saturday in an assisted-living facility in Silver Lake, said Damon Devine, her personal assistant and close friend.

Bursting onto the U.S. music scene after signing with Capitol Records in 1950, the raven-haired Sumac was known as the "Nightingale of the Andes," the "Peruvian Songbird" and a "singing marvel" with a 4 1/2 -octave (she said five-octave) voice. "She is five singers in one," boasted her then-husband Moises Vivanco, a composer-arranger, in a 1951 interview with the Associated Press. "Never in 2,000 years has there been another voice like hers."

After Sumac performed at the Shrine Auditorium with a company of dancers, drummers and musicians in 1955, a Los Angeles Times writer observed: "She warbles like a bird in the uppermost regions, hoots like an owl in the lowest registers, produces bell-like coloratura passages one minute, and exotic, dusky contralto tones the next."

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