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?

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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.

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

So what does Ibeyi mean?

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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?

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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.

READ: Kap-G: Raza Rap From Atlanta

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?

Meet the Band from Latin America That's Been Sampled By Jay-Z and the Beastie Boys


Meet the Band from Latin America That’s Been Sampled By Jay-Z and the Beastie Boys


A bunch of dudes from Chile inspired some of rap music’s most memorable samples. Los Ángeles Negros is a popular romantic rock outfit from the ’60s — you’ve heard their classic “Y Volvere” at least once. Their brooding, keyboard-driven sound has made their music a sweet source for rap samples.

“My First Song” by Jay Z

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The closing track on Jay-Z’s The Black Album, “My First Song” begins with two memorable samples: a Notorious B.I.G. vocal sample and the opening guitar lines from Los Ángeles Negros’ “Tu y Tu Mirar, Yo y Mi Canción.”

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“Do You Believe” by The Beatnuts

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The Beatnuts, a Latino rap duo that helped introduce us to Big Pun, made this sinister track about street life, which is driven by a sped-up sample of Los Ángeles Negros’ “Fueron Tres Años.”

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“Didn’t Wanna Do That” by A$AP Ferg

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Listen closely, that psychedelic guitar weaving around the drums is a sample of Los Ángeles Negros’ “No Morirá Jamás.”

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READ: Rap in the Land of Reggaeton: Alvaro Diaz

“The Move” by Beastie Boys

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It’s not a Beastie Boys track if Ad Rock, Mike D and MCA aren’t hopping effortlessly from one funky instrumental to another. The Beasties cap off “The Move” – listen for it at 2:55 – with a loop of Los Ángeles Negros’ “El Rey y Yo” featuring some beefed up kick drums.


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“Lost in Thought” by Funkdoobiest

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Los Angeles rap crew Funkdoobiest, who were part of the Cypress Hill-founded Soul Assassins collective, took advantage of the soulful interplay between guitars and keyboard in Los Ángeles Negros’ “Como Quisiera Decirte.”


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