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  • Culture  /  Musique

    Ibeyi talk their joined heritage and the music that made them

    By Noelle Faulkner 20 October 2017

    Born of French-Cuban heritage, twin sisters (and the daughters of legendary Cuban percussionist, Anga Díaz of Buena Vista Social Club-fame) Lisa-Kaindé Diaz and Naomi Diaz makeup the genre-blurring duo Ibeyi – a Yoruba (an ancient Nigerian language) which literally translates to “twins”.

    Performing songs in English, French, Spanish and Yoruba  their music wonderfully circle themes of  history, heritage and highly personal storytelling –the band’s music is not only a reflection of multicultural France, but of their family’s own story.

    Having released their new album, Ash just a few weeks ago, we spoke to the duo about their French-Cuban connection and where they find their joie de vivre.

     

    You were born in Paris, and spent the first two years of your life in Cuba before moving back. What is your fondest memory of growing up in France?

    We love Paris, we are so happy we got to grow up in between Paris and La Habana. We love taking the French subway with music playing in our ears and looking at how beautiful and diverse we all are in Paris. Every colour, every language, it’s an open window into the world.

     

    What music did you grow up on and how has that influenced your music today? 

    Our father was a musician and both our parents are music lovers, so we grew up listening to a lot of music and we still do every day. What was fantastic in our house was that our parents would listen to every genre of music from Mozart to Coltrane from Prince to Ella Fitzgerald from Seu Jorge to Beyoncé, from Yoruba music to Bob Dylan.

     

    Can you talk about some of the cultural similarities you see between France and Cuba?  

    La Havana and Paris are magnificent and really different cities but they share their love for Art. That’s probably why both countries have so many incredible artists.

     

    What was the best advice your mother and father gave you? 

    To find who we were and work hard without forgetting where we come from. But most of all they taught us to love and to not be afraid of saying it.

     

     Where do you find or what gives you your “joie de vivre”?

    Music, art, our friends and family, performing on stage, watching the sea, dancing, creating…So many things!

    Ibeyi’s ‘music that made us’ playlist
    Nina Simone, ‘Wild is the Wind’

    Amy Winehouse, ‘Tears Dry on Their Own’

    Kanye West, ‘Ultralight Beam’

    Serge Gainsbourg, ‘Je Suis Venu te Dire Que Je m’en Vais’

    James Blake, ‘Choose Me’

    Ash is out now