Magical Musical Duo Ibeyi Live on KCRW

Twin sisters Naomi and Lisa-Kainde Diaz bring their Afro-Cuban heritage and Yoruba upbringing into their music as Ibeyi.

Photos by Larry Hirshowitz

I happened across Ibeyi at SXSW 2015 and was so taken by their performance, I found myself at the front of the stage by the end of the first song.

Naomi and Lisa-Kainde Diaz are twin sisters, but they couldn’t be more different — both in personality and their musical preferences.

I expect a lot more hip hop on the next album courtesy of Naomi who, not surprisingly, plays the percussive instruments (the Cajon and the Batas), while Lisa plays piano and does most of the singing.

But their musical upbringing as the daughters of late Cuban percussion Anga Diaz (a past member of Buena Vista Social Club) and French-Venezuelan singer, Maya Dagnino, overwhelm those differences to unite them in sound.

Their mom Maya manages the duo and was here in studio for their session guiding the way, so it’s a true family affair.

They sing in both English and Yoruba (in fact, “Ibeyi” is a term in the Yoruba language for the divine spirit that exists between twins) and invoke some of the prayers from the Afro-Caribbean religion in their music.

Rooted in R&B, jazz, hip hop and downtempo electronica, their sound is deeply evocative. They’ve been on a roll since the release of their self-titled debut and are headed to Coachella in April (with a “localchella” show alongside Rhye at the Fonda on April 18)

I expect much more to come from these sisters. Find the full session here.

RR