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Who are the Ibeyi sisters spotted in “Lemonade”?

 

Decoding of the Ibeyi duo (‘twins’ in Yoruba — language spoken notably in Cuba, where Lisa-Kaindé and Naomi are from), already stars in France, who appear several times in Beyoncé’s short film “Lemonade”.

Where do they come from?

Born in Paris to a Cuban percussionist father (Miguel Anga Diaz) and a Franco-Venezuelan music PR mother, Lisa-Kaindé and Naomi Diaz grew up in a highly diverse musical world. Jazz, Latin jazz, hip-hop, Argentinian, Malian, Cuban, folk, soul and funk music… Today the twins are looking to new genres for their influences (Naomi prefers hip-hop, raga and dance-hall, while her sister lovers diva soul), and that’s undoubtedly what makes them so special. The soft voice and delicacy of Lisa-Kaindé and her piano fuses and balances with the dry rhythms Naomi plays on her cajón (a Peruvian instrument from the 18th century). 

A blend of style

The disparities in the music and characters of these non-identical twins results in a unique harmony, where rock mixes with the sensual, pop mixes with soul, and R&B has a very tender electro sonority: where the naïve has an underlying shadow. Lisa-Kaindé and Naomi sing in English and Yoruba, a tonal language whose syllables have to be pronounced with a characteristic melody and tone, and that sounds like a whisper, a vibration that’s ever latent on their tracks. 

Rise to fame

From songs within the family sphere, private concerts for friends and the recording of an EP to concerts and videos whose virality led to their being signed by Richard Russell of the XL Recordings label, the 20-year old sisters’ rise to fame has been nothing short of meteoric. The owner of the English label decided to record their first album in 2015, and permeated with traces of their origins, the incredibly personal dimension is both unsettling at times and soothing at others. Love, death, absence, Lisa-Kaindé and Naomi speak very openly through their words, their incantations, their gazes and their presence. 

 

Beyoncé

Eight months ago Beyoncé posted a video on Instagram complete with “River”, the twins’ first single. Queen B then called upon their talents for her latest album “Lemonade”, released on April 23rd 2016, as well as its video (about an hour long) and in which they appear on several occasions. Chosen along with several other young artists Beyoncé wants to support and encourage, the Ibeyi sisters represent a strong, feminist youth claiming its identity through music… Something that Beyoncé clearly admires and wants to boost. Watch this space. 

 

By Clara Blanca

 

 

 

 

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