Ibeyi’s self-titled debut album has been on constant rotation on my player since it came out. The impact a couple of twenty year-olds have on me is… annoying! Yes, it is! What business do these two kids have making me feel this way?

This album is haunting, no pun intended considering there is a song called Ghost on there. It’s one of those pieces of art you wish you’d created yourself.

 

Their fraternal fusion is tangible, and the way they complement each other is inspiring to all siblings out there! Lisa-Kaindé is the dreamer pianist, fan of soul divas and jazz, she sings and composes as well. Naomi, the extroverted percussionist, listens to dance hall and rap, she also sings, and adds the electro/hip hop elements.

One wonders if working on this album wasn’t a form of therapy for them…

The album is sad and hopeful at the same time. It talks about love and death.

The lyrics are well crafted and minimal. They merge well with the music and express the character-building events these two have gone through already. With a song like think of you clearly dedicated to their dad (deceased in 2006), but also Yanira for their older sister who passed away in 2013.

 

Their story also makes you question genetics. No one could write an article on the Ibeyi twins without mentioning their father, legendary percussionist, member of the Buena Vista Social Club, Angá Diaz. Yet, it’s not like he had that much time to instill his passion. Sadly, the twins were only 11 when he passed away.

No, these beautiful women sweat natural talent.

Growing up between Paris and Cuba, their diverse upbringing shines through their music and lyrics. Although mostly sung in English, a lot of Yoruba lyrics weave through the album and transport us inside the melting pot that is Ibeyi’s sound.

Their self-defined “Contemporary Negro Spirituals” genre is a mix of Yorùba chants, piano, cajòn and bata drums, hip hop beats and electronic elements, a dash of Bjork and Nina Simone, and a lot of family.

The well-traveled youngsters have seen the World, and after clearly weighing it, they’re ready to take it on! Watch out!

IBEYI
Ibeyi
(XL Recordings, 2015)

-Genre: Alternative

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About The Author

Séverine Baron
Collaborator - RREVERB

Classical pianist in the great times of wearing braces, insomniac sound engineer with a headphone imprint on my skull, and also (mostly?) electro acoustic music composer during my existential self-questioning evenings. Mother to two garden gnomes, community manager and freelancer scribbler.