Need a shot of happy? Then check out this new track from Ibeyi, the 22-year-old French-Cuban twins Lisa-Kaindé and Naomi Diaz who blend modern pop, hip-hop and electronica with the traditional sounds of Yorùbá.
Of this latest track, the press release notes:
“Away Away” pushes forward the unique, cross-cultural sound that Ibeyi have become so widely recognized for. The duo, who split their time between Paris, Cuba and London, explain that the song is about “looking out onto the world’s craziness, which is symbolized by the sirens heard in the track, and wondering if the promises of a better world will be made true?” Culminating with a Yoruba chant for the Orisha Aggayu (the ferryman-like god who provides strength), the songs upbeat tempo carries the listener away with Ibeyi on their pursuit of affirming a better world.
The Diaz sisters are also featured as the cover story of the current issue of The Fader, which interviews them in Havana, where they are building a house
They often refer to the new house as an “investment.” Holding a financial stake in a slowly modernizing Havana is important because “Cuba represents our father,” Lisa tells me. “But it means something that with this [house], we are committed with the country.” For a family that’s lived abroad for so long, this rebuild is a tangible symbol of Ibeyi’s future connection to the island — a flexing of choice — made possible through a career creating experimental Yoruba soul.
Earlier that morning we’d listened to a rough mix of Ibeyi’s forthcoming second album. Like 2015’s self-titled release, the album is produced by Richard Russell, founder of their label XL Recordings, and features crystalline parallel harmonies and minimalist Latin percussion that Russell embellishes with drum machines and twinkling synth lines. Unlike their self-titled debut, which was filled with Yoruba chanting and held the ghosts of their late father, as well as their older sister, Yanira, who died of a brain aneurysm in 2013, the new album feels more playful, present, and much less gothic.
“Our first album was really emotional: it was our story, our baggage,” says Lisa, who speaks in a soft French cadence, flattened by the taut edges of time spent in London.
“All of the songs were written when Lisa was 14 to 18. We were really young but talking about grown subjects, like death,” adds Naomi, who is better in French than English. “This album is us now, in the moment. It’s less melancholic.”
Read the full profile in The Fader here.
No word on a release date for their sophomore album, but the group has announced European tour dates.
Ibeyi 2017 European tour dates:
30 EMB – Sannois (FR)
04 L’Épicerie Moderne – Feyzin (FR)
05 La Laiterie – Strasbourg (FR)
06 L’aéronef – Lille (FR)
11 L’Étage – Rennes (FR)
12 Stéréolux – Nantes (FR)
18 Thekla – Bristol (UK)
19 Shoreditch Town Hall – London (UK)
20 Band On The Wall – Manchester (UK)
02 Club Bahnhof Ehrenfeld – Cologne (DE)
03 Lido – Berlin (DE)
04 Knust – Hamburg (DE)
05 Paradiso Noord – Amsterdam (NL)
07 Het Depot – Leuven (BE)