The Parisian sisters of Ibeyi (ee-bay-ee) are French-Cuban twins by birth, and they are musical daughters of African diasporic spirituality. Their Oya is a lean, affecting four-song EP about “family and prayers,” awash in dedication to their late father, Miguel Angá Díaz, a master Latin jazz percussionist or Cubano conguero (famously featured in the movie Buena Vista Social Club), who passed away from a surprise heart attack at age 45 when the sisters were just 11.
Naomi and Lisa-Kaindé Diaz, now 19, describe their sisterly relationship as easiest when they’re making music together. Their rich sounds blend hip-hop beat-craft and electronic music with traditional Yoruba chants. Sister Naomi berr-rat-tat-taps rhythms on the cajón and the batá; sister Lisa-Kaindé plays staccato piano and leads smoky chants of gratitude to the Yoruba goddess Oshun, birth mother of the Ibeyi.
The duo’s latest visual, “River,” appears to call on the powerful symbolism of water as a baptism, or a washing away of our worries, conceits and cares through prayer and the purifying of spirit. The Díaz twins are lifted and pulled beneath the water by two strong, tattooed pairs of arms in baptismal grip, their eyes popping open to the world like newborn babies from a watery womb, simply and hauntingly.
Submerge yourself in the waters of Ibeyi, and check out the mystifying debut EP by these talented twin sisters at their website.
Sun Singleton is a musician/editor/journalist based in New York City whose work has been featured in a variety of publications, including Vibe, Mass Appeal, Complex.com, EBONY.com, Bronx Biannual, YOYO/SO4 and BET Digital. Feel free to connect with her on Twitter at @sunsing.
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