(SXSW 2015 flavoured!) Bands to Watch #320: Ibeyi

By on Tuesday, 6th January 2015 at 12:00 pm

While there’s no 100% guarantee music may become their vocation, there’s no use denying the fact that children of musicians are exposed to a lot of amazing sounds while they’re growing up, which in turn lead to those children to not take a keen interest to music but also to take their genetic predilection and gifts, able truly take a good stab at making music their business. The daughters of famed Cuban percussionist and Buena Vista Social Club member Anga Diaz, Cuban sister act Ibeyi (“twins” in the Cuba-via-Nigeria language Yoruba) are twins Lisa-Kaindé and Naomi Diaz. Their father passed away when they were only 11, but the palpable weight of his legacy encouraged the sisters to learn the cajon, their father’s signature instrument, as well as folk songs sung in Yoruba.

Now based in Paris, the twins call on their many influences – from Kate Bush to Nina Simone, from James Blake to the Roots, plus their father, of course – for the Ibeyi sound which, as you can imagine if you were to put all those influences into a blender, is one you can’t put neatly into one genre box. The coolness of the beats and piano in ‘Mama Says’, recalling Mr Blake, might just be why the ears of XL Recordings boss Richard Russell perked up when he received a copy of the promo video the pair made themselves.

Lisa-Kaindé and Naomi, then 19 years old, signed to the Beggars Group offshoot last autumn, then celebrating their 20th birthday in December 2014 playing at St. James Church at Other Voices Dingle, Ireland, calling the experience “a real blessing”. Put together with their eclectic choice of instrumentation that changes from track to track, the sisters’ soulful voices and harmonies that can only really be produced by siblings are what truly set these sisters apart from the rest of the female duo renaissance currently taking place in the UK. Watch for their eponymous debut album to drop on the 16th of February on XL.

Along with artists we’ve covered previously on TGTF James Bay and Wolf Alice, Ibeyi were one of the acts chosen for the VEVO DSCVR Ones to Watch 2015. Judging from the live performance of ‘Oya’ did for them, the sisters will pull off spellbinding, winning performances when they showcase at SXSW 2015 in Austin in March.

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