There are 2 sisters known as Ibeyi (pronounced ee-bey-ee), who have been heating up the music scene with their intoxicating soulful and spiritual tunes that blend Yoruba and English. 20 yr-old Lisa-Kaindé Díaz and her fraternal twin sister Naomi Díaz (older by 2 minutes) are the daughters of musicians–an Afro-Cuban father and a French mother who was raised in Venezuela. Their late father, Miguel “Angá” Diaz, was a renowned percussionist, who left an incredible musical sound and style legacy across the world. Ibeyi’s mom is singer Maya Dagnino, who currently manages the group.
The sisters were born in Paris and also lived in Cuba for a brief time. Signed to London’s XL Recordings, Ibeyi has traveled around the world to numerous locations such as Europe, United States, Venezuela, Middle East, Nigeria, Mexico, and India sharing their music. The beautiful duo released their self-titled debut album, Ibeyi, in February 2015.
Ibeyi – In Their Own Words
Below is a compilation of quotes from Ibeyi via various interviews they have participated in.
Click link for source.
Tell us about your name Ibeyi.
Lisa-Kaindé: Ibeyi means twins in Yoruba. And when we start(ed) thinking about how we wanted the band to be called, our mother said Ibeyi. [NPR]
Twins are really important in the Yoruba villages because of mythology and legends. They are regarded as blessed and there are really elaborate rituals around them. [The Irish Times]
In the Cuban culture, there is a major Yoruba influence from the legacy of the slaves that were shipped there from Benin and Nigeria… [Vibe]
Was there pressure to play music because of your famous father?
Lisa-Kaindé: It wasn’t like you think. Our parents separated when we were younger. Our father was always in our lives, he lived at first in Paris, and then Barcelona but he was touring a lot. His legacy is our taste of mixing music. His music is about mixing music. We value the same things – Latin jazz, hip hop and African music. He was a very humble man.
Naomi: We never think of him as famous. Music was his passion – he didn’t care about GRAMMYs. [Beat]
Lisa-Kaindé: [Our father] was happy knowing that we’re playing music. He never told us you must do music, you must work. He was not like that at all. [Our music is] a way to make people think about him and make people aware that he was an amazing musician and that what he did was really, really beautiful. It’s a really big joy to speak about our father every day. [Noisey]
How would you describe your music?
Ibeyi: Contemporary negro spirituals. It’s a sound that reflects who we are entirely. Our Yoruba heritage mixed with the music we have listened to growing up in France: jazz, soul, funk, hip-hop and electronic. [Ebony]
Describe singing in Yoruba and what that means to you.
Naomi: We love to sing in both languages. When we sing in Yoruba, we chant ancient prayers, which feels amazingly good and right because we are preserving our heritage. As for English, it is our own words that we are singing, it’s completely different. What we enjoy most is combining those two sensations. [Vibe]
Lisa-Kaindé: Some people might say that we are using Yoruba to make money for ourselves, but that’s so not true. This is my heritage and it’s important for the two of us because we believe in it a lot. We are taking religious songs and putting them in our music which is spiritual. We are doing this because we love this music, we believe it is our identity, we feel that it’s our legacy and it’s a way to connect with our ancestors. It is a big part of us. [The Irish Times]
What are your roles in the group?
Lisa-Kaindé: We both have different roles in Ibeyi. I compose the basics, which are the melodies and the chords, and then I work on the lyrics with my family.
Naomi: I come up with the rhythms. In the studio, I come up with the ideas of where I want us to go. I told (our producer) Richard Russell and my twin sister that I wanted to try electronic sounds and hip-hop influences–and that’s what we did. [Rookie]
What do you think about the current state of Cuba & U.S. relations?
Lisa-Kaindé: We go [to Cuba] once a year. It’s a complicated situation. It’s good, but it can be dangerous. I don’t want Cuba to be Miami! I don’t want rich people to buy the city. There is a vibe and culture. You go to Cuba, and you understand things. There are ghosts and energy everywhere. [The New York Times]
Watch a short documentary of them in Cuba (in Spanish) by Havana Cultura.
Have you listened to Ibeyi’s music? What do you think?
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