What I'm Listening To: Ibeyi
Though I've fallen in love with Ibeyi's music and have been listening since last year, it's taken me a while to write a post about them!
Twins Lisa-Kaindé Diaz and Naomi Diaz comprise the French-Cuban musical duo, singing both in English and Yoruba. In the Latin American dialects of Yoruba, ibeyi means twins. Their music has Yoruba, French and Afro-Cuban elements. They incorporate jazz fusion with a mix of traditional instruments and beats. Lisa (pictured above on the left) is the lead vocalist and pianist, while Naomi (pictured above on the right) plays traditional Spanish/Cuban percussion instruments cajón, Batá drum, and also the piano. The themes of their music display their strong spiritual connection to their Afro-Cuban roots, Yoruba culture, and also pays tribute to Santería.
Their album beings with "Eleggua," a song to the Yoruba orisha, who is the first orisha greeted in any ceremony, because without his blessing, nothing else can proceed. Religious references and chants in Yoruba are infused throughout the entire album, with references to various orishas, including Oya, Aggayu, Oshun, Shango and Yemaya.
Their father famed Cuban percussionist Miguel Anga Díaz, who serves as an influence to their music, died when they were 11. It was their Venezuelan mother who introduced them to the Yoruba language, which came to Cuba from present day Nigeria on slave ships in the 1700s.
You can check out more from the duo's self-titled debut album below.