Ibeyi interview: the twin duo talk life, love and music

March 15th 2016


  • Ibeyi :: Interview with Twitey


“We never thought it was going to be an album at all!”

Lisa Kainde Diaz of Ibeyi never thought she’d give up her plans as a music teacher to live the dream of making her own music. Yet Lisa and her sister Naomi were thrilled to be in Australia for the first time this month, touring their debut album to audiences of all shapes, sizes, and ages. The French-Cuban twins popped into the studio with Twitey this week to tell us about their creative process as sisters, and how their twin dynamic works at home and at work.

Ibeyi are the daughters of the famed Cuban percussionist Anga Diaz and French-Venezuelan singer Maya Dagnino. Singing in both English and Yoruba, the sisters play with Yoruba style percussion and modern hip hop to create a unique cultural sound which they attribute to their family. In the studio, they tell us how their music reflects their personal lives, and how most of the music holds themes of loss, love, and family.

For Ibeyi, music is a way for the sisters to communicate with each other when all else (screaming included) falls short. “We just never argue about music… We’re always on the same page.”

Where they agree on their music, they continually disagree on everything else.  When asked if producing their album was a scary experience, Lisa says yes, but Naomi challenges that statement. Lisa explains that her fearless sister was the one who pushed them to produce the album in the first place, although its creation was a joint effort.

Writing for this album began when the sisters were just 14. Now, at age 20, they realise what a turbulent time that writing period was. Coming to terms with love, life, and death in those years shaped the album into a moving work of art that XL Recordings’ Richard Russell was keen to produce.

On working with Russell, Lisa recalls, “We had never really thought about sound, and we started listening to every single sound and thinking about how we wanted to produce the album. So it was really life changing.”

Naomi adds, “It was the first time he was working with people who were not famous at all and who were young. We were nineteen!”

As young as they are, Ibeyi are a force to be reckoned with and show a proud ownership for their culture and their music. Listen for the full interview above.


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