Nick Bollinger checks out a debut album from French/Cuban twin sisters Ibeyi, which infuses modern production with the spiritual traditions of the Caribbean.
Ibeyi by Ibeyi (XL Recordings)
They call themselves Ibeyi, a Yoruba word meaning ‘twins’, but their names are Naomi and Lisa Diaz, nineteen-year-old identical twin sisters of Cuban and Argentinian descent.
Their father was the Cuban percussionist Anga Diaz, who had toured and recorded with everyone from the Buena Vista Social Club to Roy Hargrove, until his death in 2006. His hands held the history of Cuban drumming, going all the way back to the the slave ships. And Yoruba rhythms and vocal chants are building blocks the sisters use in many of their original songs. They have referred to these as ‘contemporary negro spirituals’. Yet if African and Cuban traditions hover like ancestral spirits behind these tunes, the surface are urban and modern, with synth lines and glitchy electronic beats accompanying their spell-binding voices.
Songs Featured: Oya, Think Of You, River, Weatherman, Stranger/Lover, Mama Says