Sunday, January 13, 2008

What does "Xtabay" mean, anyway?

One of the most common questions we get at Xtabay (besides "Where do you get all your clothes?" and "How come everyone was so tiny?") is "What does 'Xtabay' mean, anyway?"

Xtabay Vintage Clothing is named after a record album by Yma Sumac called, naturally, "Voice of the Xtabay". The story goes that Yma Sumac lived in Ichocan, Peru, high in the Andes, and she sang for Indian rituals. Capitol Records--who must have had talent scounts everywhere--discovered her stupendous range and ordered up a record contract. Her first record, "Voice of the Xtabay", was released in the very early 1950s and is purportedly the oldest record in uninterrupted release.

The back of the record jacket describes the Xtabay:

The Xtabay is the most elusive of all women. You seek her in your flight of desire and think of her as beautiful as the morning sun touching the highest mountain peak. Her voice calls to you in every whisper of the wind. The lure of her unknown love becomes ever stronger, and a virgin who might have consumed your nights with tender caresses now seems less than the dry leaves of winter. For you follow the call of the Xtabay...though you walk alone through all your days.

So now you know.

1 comment:

  1. For those of you interested in Yma Sumac, there is a newly published 300-page biography of her. It can be found on at