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IBEYI

ibeyi

IBEYI

Ibeyi 

XL/Remote Control

 

As Ibeyi (“ee-bey-ee”), 19-year-old French-Cuban twins Naomi and Lisa-Kainde Diaz were responsible for one of 2014’s most arresting singles, River. Set against a hypnotising, stripped-back beat, the duo deliver the refrain of ‘Come to your river /wash my soul before ending in an old prayer, sung in Yoruba, a language that was taken to Cuba by West African slaves in the 18th century.

The sisters sing in both English and Yoruba on this album, connecting themselves with their cultural history and adding another layer of emotional depth. The poignant chant at the end of Behind The Curtin – all fragile whispers of death and grief – lifts the song to ethereal heights.

Ibeyi effortlessly juxtapose the old with the new: gospel chants and glitch elements, elegant piano lines and minimal beats. The result is striking and acutely affecting – 13 tracks of minimal soul, framing the Diaz sisters’ beautiful, clear voices. Ibeyi is reminiscent of the skewed R&B of Seattle duo Theesatisfaction, with both acts sharing a focus on dual vocals, minimal beats, and favouring the lower keys on the piano. Highlights here include the smooth Stranger/Lover and the slow Weatherman, with its crackly backbone and wobbly synth.

 

CHIARRA GRASSIA

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