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Alternatif et Indé - Released February 16, 2015 | XL Recordings

Ibeyi is the self-titled debut album from Cuban-born, French-raised twins Lisa-Kainde and Naomi Diaz. The daughters of Cuban percussionist Miguel "Angá" Diaz (who was a performing member of the Buena Vista Social Club) and Venezuelan mother Maya began making music upon their father's passing in 2006. After XL label boss Richard Russell caught their video for "Mama Says," he tracked them down in Paris' Montparnasse neighborhood and signed them. The recording is the first to come from the label's brand new London studio. Ibeyi's sound is deliberately sparse, as reliant on Santerian religious chants as it is on 21st century Euro soul. Lisa-Kainde sings lead and plays piano; Naomi sings harmony and plays West African drums -- cajón and batá -- both elemental parts of the Afro-Cuban musical lineage. The sisters sing in both English and Yoruban, the latter inherited from their father's spiritual and cultural heritage. Russell is not just the album's producer but an anchor, a collaborator, and a guide. His snaky synths, samples, and beats are used sparingly but add an earthy depth to the otherworldly characteristics in Ibeyi's music. The set opens with a chant to Eleggua -- the orisha (deity) who opens the roads of all things in the Santeria religion. It is followed by what amounts to a soulful, hymn to "Oya," the goddess of winds and storms. Ibeyi move to more earthly concerns with an elliptical piano wed to the ground with layered, organic drums in the erotically charged, ironically titled "Ghosts." "River," with its fat, distorted, low-end bass drums, ethereal funky guitars, and piano vamp is infectious with a dark, souled-out vocal. This direction continues on "Stranger/Lover," with its driving synth bassline, lisping hi-hat, cajon, and spidery piano lines. Lisa-Kainde delivers a jazzy soul vocal. Simultaneously, "Mama Says" recounts their mother's grief after the passing of Anga and their own exhortation to her to go on living. Framed by funereal piano, reverb-laden bata and cajon, and sparse piano, the sisters again invoke Eleggua in the skeletal bridge. "Yanira" evolves from broken-hearted want to open-hearted affirmation. Ibeyi's sound has no direct referent, though their music would be right at home with other artists of the electro doom soul generation, from FKA Twigs to BLK JKS to Benjamin Clementine. Their songs of family, love, lust, and spirit pair perfectly entwined and complementary voices. The musical and sonic palettes reflect both the world of human existence -- ancestry and physical geography -- and the "other" realm that informs it -- a doorway of feelings and senses that is invisible yet ever present. ~ Thom Jurek

Electronic/Dance - Released September 29, 2017 | XL Recordings

Hi-Res Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Pitchfork: Best New Music
Everyone knows the English language. Fewer people are familiar with Yoruba… Thanks to Ibeyi’s first eponymous album released at the beginning of 2015, most people have been able to discover or rediscover this African language imported into Cuba in the 17th Century by slaves coming from the country that is now Nigeria. Ibeyi is the name of this duo led by two French Cuban twins of Venezuelan descent who shape a beautiful soul music, both driven and spiritual. Therefore they sing in Yoruba, but also in English and in Spanish. After offering large sections of melancholy that they sometimes transform into percussive hymns, Naomi and Lisa-Kaindé Diaz continue with Ash to mix music from their Afro-Cuban heritage (their father was none other than Anga Diaz, the drummer from the band Irakere) and from their own time, from electro to rap to pop. It’s a blending that they also apply to instruments, whether acoustic, electric or even electronic. Ibeyi even has some fun with Auto-Tune here! Finally, it’s worth noting that this second album is also a confluence of people with good taste, as we cross paths with the atypical Canadian pianist Chilly Gonzales, the furious Californian saxophonist Kamasi Washington, the bass player Meshell Ndegeocello and the Spanish rapper Mala Rodriguez. © MD/Qobuz

Alternatif et Indé - Released December 8, 2015 | XL Recordings


Alternatif et Indé - Released August 31, 2018 | Atlantic Records


Electronic/Dance - Released June 9, 2017 | XL Recordings


Alternatif et Indé - Released May 18, 2015 | XL Recordings


Alternatif et Indé - Released July 28, 2015 | XL Recordings


Alternatif et Indé - Released February 10, 2017 | XL Recordings


Alternatif et Indé - Released February 17, 2015 | XL Recordings


Ibeyi in the magazine
  • Planet Ibeyi
    Planet Ibeyi What happens when the Diaz sisters invite Chilly Gonzales, Kamasi Washington, Meshell Ndegeocello and Mala Rodriguez over...
  • The Qobuz Minute #30
    The Qobuz Minute #30 Presented by Barry Moore, The Qobuz Minute sweeps you away to the 4 corners of the musical universe to bring you an eclectic mix of today's brightest talents. Jazz, Electro, Classical, World music ...