Ibeyi: Afro-Cuban Electro via Paris

Twin sisters Lisa-Kaindé and Naomi Diaz, the Cuban-African duo behind Ibeyi, have been churning out haunting electronic tracks since last summer. Their hit, “River,” is a must on everyone’s playlist. You’ve got questions about this amazing duo, we’ve got the answers.

Where did they get their musical chops?

Credit: Daniel Bartholo / Youtube

Their father, Miguel Anga Diaz, was a percussionist for the famed Buena Vista Social Club. He died when they were 11.

Happy Mother's Day Ma. We love you so much.

A photo posted by ibeyi (@ibeyi2) on

Their mother is French-Venezuelan singer, Maya Dagnino. She’s also their manager.

So what does Ibeyi mean?

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Credit: Ibeyi / Facebook

Ibeyi (pronounced “ee-bey-ee) means “twins” in Yoruba, a language from West Africa. Yoruba culture played a significant part in Cuba’s history, which is why Lisa-Kaindé and Naomi took on a Yoruba name and write many of their lyrics in the language.

Is there anything they can’t do?

Credit: IbeyiVEVO / YouTube

Probably not. Lisa-Kaindé and Naomi speak four languages: English, Spanish, French and Yoruba. They’ve also been known to finish each other’s sentences.

Are they models, too?

No, but they do pull off some serious sass and beauty.

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Where do they live?

In La Habana with Rumberos de Cuba, chanting for Eleggua. That was powerful !

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The girls were born in Cuba, but moved to Paris when they were two-years old. Most of the year, Lisa-Kaindé and Naomi live in Montparnasse, once an artist’s mecca in the south of Paris. They try to visit Cuba once a year.

Do they have an appreciation for the past?

Ibeyi integrate old Yoruba hymns into their songs. “We are doing this because we love this music, we believe it is our identity, we feel that it’s our legacy and it’s a way to connect with our ancestors. It is a big part of us,” Lisa-Kaindé told the Irish Times.

Is all their music hymn-like?

They cite Frank Ocean, King Krule and James Blake as some of their influences. At concerts, they’ve been known to cover Jay Electronica’s “Better in Turn with the Infinite.”

Do they write and sing?

Merci @FestivalArtRock et @P2Npro ! Super public, super accueil. @mahahardy

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Lisa Kaindé writes most of the lyrics and Naomi plays cajón and batá. Their mother and uncle also helped write songs. According to the sisters, Lisa-Kaindé is the melody and Naomi is the rhythm.

What else inspires their music?

Kids #tbt ?

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For 20-year-olds, they’ve experienced more than their fair share of tragedy. Their father died unexpectedly of a heart attack in 2006. When they traveled with their mother to Cuba for the funeral, border officials denied them re-entry, and the 11-year-olds had no other option but to return to mourn in Paris. In 2013, their older sister, Yanira, died of a brain aneurysm. Their song “Yanira” is dedicated to her.

Can I get their music now?

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