Tips On Tables

Tips on Tables - Robert W. Dana - September 19, 1951

Cotillion Room Echoes Inca Chant

Life is universal and language but a series of sounds which, when uttered In expressive rhythm and tone, become an instrument of kindly impact on the human soul.


Such was the result of the singing of Yma Sumac, descendant of Inca kings, who thrust aside the barrier of the Peruvian language with virtuosity, last night in the Cotillion Room of the Pierre as she revealed a voice covering four octaves - contralto to bell-like coloratura.

Big Names Gather.

Celebrities gathered early. Jeanette MacDonald, In brown lace Inca songstress and taffeta to match her tawny brown hair, hugged the rail of a terrace table and conversed with her husband, Gene Raymond, and another couple.

Hiding like a couple of lovebirds against the terrace on the other side were Tony and Sally DeMarco, who starred in the room a year ago and will return soon. Sally wore a fabulous skirt of champagne Chinese brocade, with partridge pleats and tailored black satin waist.

Connie Bennett There.

Pegeen Fitzgerald In blond hair and blond lame looked stunning at the ringside table of Frank Paget, Pierre’s managing director, with such table companions as Mr. and Mrs. Gene Cavallero of the Coloni.

I saw Connie Bennett in trim black satin with matching evening hat. Nanette Fabray in champagne chiffon and society’s Mr. and Mrs. Otto Hafner and Mrs. Brooks Howe.

Show time was 10 P. m., with Stanley Melba apologizing for engineering difficulties, and Artint and Consuelo,the ballroom dancers, registering a slight difficulty of their own when the girl busted one of the straps of her gown on the first number.

After this interlude and a relaxing laugh, the girl from Peru appeared in a sumptuous gown of white and pink French taffeta, designed and executed for her in Peru. It featured a low, square neckline and a bouffant skirt highlighted with a luminous Inca motif pattern in red, blue and green. She wore a large Inca necklace of solid gold.

Native Songs.

It was a performance for eyes and ears, with but the, senses to act as translator. Except for one digression, in which she sang our “Too Young,” Miss Sumac used only native songs.

And how lovely they are! And how universal, actually. When she was a child she learned about birds in the Andes. Not being a musician I can’t adequately describe the motion of sound in the number called “Birds.” It begins in contralto, takes on the peculiar sounds of the birds. coasts along on coloratura and ends in what I would call a dirty trumpet howl.

They have national Peruvian rhythm songs under the general title of “Malumbo.” The one Miss Sumac sang shows the people In all their joy. It is much like samba In rhythm, with high, penetrating notes of ecstasy ending in a plaint to give it individuality. The singer had native drummers on either side for further authenticity.

Stanley Melba, you will remember gave us Rosita Serrano, Chilean singer, in another Cotillion Room season. Heis to be complimented again for showing cafe audiences a gifted artist from Peru, who brings her concert voice and native charm to a new circle.

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