Interview: Ibeyi

We get the lowdown from twin sisters Ibeyi on their reflective debut album before they perform as the opening act for Kamasi Washington.

Your father Anga Díaz was a famous percussionist and a member of Buena Vista Social Club. With your self-titled debut album, you paid tribute to him and your deceased sister. How does it feel to honor them through music?
Lisa-Kaindé “Naomi started to play our dad’s cajón the day he died, that’s certainly a very deep way of connecting with him!”
Naomi “Our first tour ever, before we were signed on XL, started the day after our sister died. We played for her every night. It helped us tremendously to transmute the pain into music that celebrates life and the ones who are gone.”

How does Yoruba culture influence your work?
Lisa-Kaindé “The Yoruba chants and religion are a very important part of Afro-Cuban culture. We grew up listening to those chants; both our parents were initiated so the presence of those chants came very organically when we started writing the songs. We are not religious; music is our religion and our roots.”

You were featured in Beyoncé’s music video for “Lemonade.” How did you join her squad?
Naomi “We don’t know why Beyoncé chose us to be a part of it. The only thing we know is that she listens to ‘River’ with her daughter.”

More to explore