Ibeyi is the latest signing by the legendary XL Recordings, and it’s a breath of fresh air. Formed by the French-Cuban twin sisters Naomi and Lisa-Kainde Díaz, they just released their debut EP, titled Oya, with the label’s own founder Richard Russell on production duties. The Díaz sisters sing in English and, interestingly, in Yoruba, something that is definitely not very frequent these days, right?
“River” is the latest single from their EP, where they display their stunning vocals over an austere but heavy hip hop beat. Naturally, their voices blend in a perfect way, and they sound powerful but controlled. Its music video, directed by Ed Morris, references the lyrics of the song directly. It’s a continuous shot of the two girls being baptized in a pool of water, only rising above it to deliver their lines. It’s very simple, but also very impressive, especially when you see them release a single bubble in a 30-second time frame underwater. The last few seconds complete the ritualistic feel, when the song changes to some sort of religious chant in Yoruba.