23/02/2015
We review the self-titled debut album by teenage twins, Naomi and Lisa-Kainde Diaz.

Words by

Mia Abrahams

Ibeyi’s self-titled debut album blends modern electronic, pop and soul sounds with French-Cuban and West African tradition. 

Ibeyi showcases the musical talents of 19-year-old twins Naomi and Lisa-Kainde Diaz. Daughters of famous Cuban musician and member of the Buena Vista Social Club Anga Diaz, Ibeyi do not shy away from their family roots. 

The album is heavily influenced by their family’s traditional Yorùbán and West African culture and spirituality. Lisa-Kainde’s sings both in English and Yorub, and Naomi plays traditional Cuban percussion instruments, the Cajon and the Batas. These traditional sounds are woven through dreamy, melancholic vocals and electronic beats. It’s a blend of old and new influences that’s the real strength of the album.

The album quickly establishes its cultural heritage with opening track Eleggua, which features a harmonious incantation to a Yorùbán warrior god. Oya blends haunting vocals with modern electronic instruments, and on this track you can hear the influence of label mates The xx and SBTRKT.

Lead single Mama Says is stripped back to let Lisa-Kainde’s raw vocals shine, reminiscent of old-school soul masters like Nina Simone. The vocals describe love and loss with a darker edge: “The man is gone / and mama says / she can’t live without him.” The song ends with a Yoruba chant that lends a real sense of depth and history. 

While mostly sticking to the gloominess of its doom soul stylings, Ibeyi does have some lighter moments. River is one of the album’s more upbeat tracks, with a catchy hip hop beat and electronic base. Faithful is a nod to a pop-folk vibe while the Diaz’s delicate harmonies beg for loyalty from their lover.

Ibeyi demonstrates that history be made fresh and new in the right hands. While the album has some slow moments, it’s clear that Naomi and Lisa-Kainde Diaz have enough raw talent to go the distance. 

Via Beat.

Leave a comment

Related

Easygoing and atmospheric.
It’s impossible not to be sucked in.
For anyone who’s entered adulthood and wondered, is this it?
An overtly cliché but enjoyable read.
One of Australia’s most exciting bands.
With peaks and troughs.
A detailed account of every time you’ll cry like a baby.
"I just wanna unwrap you, baby."
An almost a travel guide.
The self-awareness sets her apart.
Strangely underwhelming.
A lush and detailed listen.
Confident and charismatic.
They aren't holding anything back...
Sweden, you’ve done it again.
The models abseil down a vertical runway and it’s ridiculous.
An album that is somehow both loud and indescribably quiet at the same time.
"The mid-song break down on the title track is still one of my favourite musical moments from recent memory."
"A well-timed and focused insight into Yves’ own studio and its inner workings."
"Oh, this is what feel good music is."
It may not be groundbreaking, but this is definitely emotional enough.
It's like it's 2012 all over again and in a very good way.
With a line up reading as an “It List” of Australian talent and an in demand theme of minimalism, Wednesday’s MSFW: Designer...
Resident FJ makeup artist Victoria Martin gives you the run-down on the new MAC x Lorde collaboration, along with a mini beauty...
Fashion Is... gives you a sneak peek into the fashion archives of The Met.
Lykke Li’s third album will make you depressed, but that kind of depressed that is pretty cathartic.