French-Cuban twins Lisa-Kaindé Díaz and Naomi Díaz – who perform together as Ibeyi – mesmerized us in 2015 with their self-titled debut, a collection of bare bones, sensual songs laced with spiritual Yoruba chants.
Now, in a recent cover story with The Fader, the sisters have revealed details about their much-anticipated forthcoming second album. You can read the entire interview here, which was published along with some breathtaking photos of the twins in Havana. Below, find a few highlights from their conversation with Anupa Mistry.
Expect some fire collaborators on their follow up
While their debut album didn’t feature any guest artists, Ibeyi’s follow up has some exciting new collaborators on deck. Feature credits include saxophonist Kamasi Washington, pianist Chilly Gonzales, neo-soul singer Meshell Ndegeocello and La Mala Rodriguez (!).
XL label boss Richard Russell, who produced the first album, resumes production duties.
Frida Kahlo's writing will also make an appearance
On a track called “Transmission,” which Mistry dubs the album’s centerpiece, the twins sample both Claudia Rankine’s 2014 dispatch Citizen: An American Lyric, as well as lines from Frida Kahlo’s diary, read aloud by their mother Maya.
Beyoncé's Favorite Ibeyi Track is "River"
Fans may remember Ibeyi’s cameo in some of the most powerful scenes from Beyoncé’s Lemonade. In their Fader interview, the sisters speculate on Yoncé’s connection to Oshun, the Yoruba goddess who represents fresh water, fertility and love. Oshun is often associated with the color yellow, and when Lemonade was released many unpacked the Yoruba references – particularly in the “Hold Up” video, in which Beyonce appeared in a yellow dress, standing in gushing water.
The Diaz sisters believe Oshun may have been revealed as Yoncé’s patron saint after her 2014 visit to Cuba. “You can tell: she’s the seductress, the queen, maternal,” Lisa tells Mistry. “Her favorite song of ours is ‘River,’” Naomi revealed. “And in Lemonade she’s surrounded by water.”
El Paquete Semanal helped them spread their music in Cuba
El Paquete semanal is Cuba’s ingenious way of getting around the island’s heavily restricted internet access. The privately owned weekly service allows Cubans to purchase data packages distributed via thumb drive; packages can include a customizable selection of movies, music, magazines, websites, and more. To make sure that Ibeyi’s music videos could reach Cubans, the twins’ momager Maya leveraged el paquete, paying a dealer for three months of promotion.
The tactic worked. Three months later, their video “River” was nominated in three categories at Cuba’s annual Premios Lucás video music awards.