Written by Myf Warhurst

Arts

Open your ears! These sisters are doing it for all of us

Every week, Myf Warhurst shines a spotlight on women who should be peppering your playlist. This week it’s sister/sister act, Ibeyi

Ibeyi

We’ll all be hearing lots more from twin sisters Ibeyi in the not too distant future.

When I think of twins that make music together, the mind wanders immediately to the more manufactured kind – namely, Australia’s Blakeney twins who emerged from that Stock Aitken Waterman/Neighbours hothouse like freshly permed kewpie dolls, or those neatly preened and perfectly flat-topped lads from Bros. While this more musically manufactured bunch of twins gave us the soundtrack to many hilarious early ’90s memories, they didn’t necessarily increase the share value in family bands.

With Ibeyi however, even though they’re a marketer’s dream, there’s not the slightest whiff of anything contrived.

Ibeyi are French/Cuban singers Lisa-Kainde and Naomi Diaz. They sing in mixed language, in English and also in the language of Yoruba, a West African language that travelled to Cuba in the 1700s with the slave trade. Yoruba is now essentially a dead language, only heard in religious text and songs, which the sisters grew up singing in both Cuba and in France. The group’s name, Ibeyi, means twins in Yoruba.

Aside from being wildly talented, the sisters’ musical heritage is also pretty impressive. They are the daughters of a percussionist in the Buena Vista Social Club, the late Anga Diaz, and they bring his love for percussion and musical spirit to their beguiling sonic creations.

Newly signed to XL Records (home to acts like the Prodigy, Beck, The White Stripes, Adele amongst others), their debut EP Oya was recorded with the label’s founder and head honcho Richard Russell.

Clearly, the boss digs their work immensely, and given his track record, you can bet you’ll hear much more about these two in the future. Dive in to their river now. The water’s more than fine.

Single – River

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Written by Myf Warhurst

Myfanwy Warhurst is a broadcaster at Double J radio (ABC Australia), TV presenter, Guardian columnist, music nut and general layabout.