For Naomi and Lisa-Kaidé Diaz, their stage name Ibeyi came as a natural suggestion from their mother. In the West African language Yoruba, Ibeyi means twins. But for the sisters, there is a deeper significance of duality in their French-Cuban upbringing and “total opposite” personalities. Ibeyi is thus, as Lisa describes, the result of “two worlds that confront each other.” In a recent interview with Havana Cultura (their first in Spanish!) the girls talk about finding their paths as musicians and how difficult it is to work with your twin sister.
Ibeyi describes their sound as contemporary black spiritual music and feel strongly influenced by their African roots. Naomi says it’s “a mix of Yoruba with soul music,” and includes genres hip hop, electronic sound, and downtempo. For over ten years, the girls have trained in classic piano and percussion, but both expressed their identity as singers and the freedom and relief they feel in translating their music to be a reflection of themselves.
“I didn’t know very well where I wanted to go, but I did know where I didn’t want to go,” says Lisa, in describing how their careers as musicians came to fruition. It is the strong sense of trust and love between the sisters that has pushed Ibeyi to their growing public audience. Ibeyi is the harmony of their contrasting personalities and talents that complete one another. The girls are already working on a second album following their debut on XL Recordings and if you are lucky enough to be in Austin, Texas this week make sure to catch Ibeyi at SXSW.