Yma Sumac and Moisés Vivanco: Between Myth and History

Yma Sumac and Moisés Vivanco: Between Myth and History
14 November 2018, 5.30pm - 7.30pm
Woburn Suite, G22/26, Ground Floor, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU

Professor and Ambassador Carmen McEvoy

(University of the South/Embassy of Peru in Ireland)

Cultural icons Yma Sumac and Moisé Vivanco strategically deployed a mythic image of Peru to satisfy the insatiable foreign demand for the exotic, on the rise in the USA and Europe during the post-war period. At the same time, they used the vehicle of the exotic to forward their own agendas as Peruvian subjects on the world scene. Sumac and Vivanco operated within a context that included 1) the development of the record industry in Latin America, with Buenos Aires its main hub; 2) the massification of musical shows; 3) the rise of a global pop culture that avidly consumed nativism (indigenismo) and other forms of exoticism. I critique the canonical, indigenista view of Sumac and Vivanco as fakes produced by Hollywood handlers. Such views were promoted by Nicolás Limansky in his Yma Sumac: The Art behind the Legend, and by anthropologist and novelist José María Arguedas, who denounced the couple’s inauthenticity. What these views failed to consider was not only the global agency of Sumac and Vivanco but also the cultural construction and marketing of Peru by a group of Peruvian intellectuals active during the Leguía period (1919-1930).


Olga Jimenez
020 7862 8871