Posts Tagged ‘ibeyi’

Introducing… Ibeyi

Posted on August 22nd, 2015 in Features, Recent posts by .


Jane Cornwell speaks to the French-Cuban sister duo who are blending Cuban and electronic music

Lisa-Kaindé is the sensitive one with the Afro. Naomi has the long dark curls and the attitude. The former plays piano; the latter plays the batá drum and the cajón. Both sing, though Lisa-Kaindé is the lead voice, their vocals swooping and dipping through songs sung in Yoruba and English.

Their rhythms are traditional, rooted in Cuba and Africa. There’s jazz in there, too. And beats. Startling, unearthly synth samples skitter and hop. Weave together all the above and you have Ibeyi – a sister act whose self-titled debut has ranked them among the most talked about newcomers on the scene.

A gig at Islington Town Hall in May was rammed with hipsters keen to check out the fuss. To experience live the French-Cuban duo whose video for second single ‘The River’ shows the sisters underwater, in close-up, taking turns to have their heads pushed underwater while the other sings. Ibeyi deliver over an hour of sometimes patchy, always mesmerising electro-soul, with Naomi straddling and slapping the boxy cajón before leaping up and getting the crowd to clap along.

Let’s remember with rhythm our loved ones that are gone,’ they intone. ‘We walk on rhythm and think of you.’ Like many of the tracks on the album, the song ‘Think of You’ is a paean to their late father, the great Cuban conguero Anga Díaz, a one-time member of Irakere and the Buena Vista Social Club who died aged 46, when his twins were 11 years old. To pile tragedy on tragedy, their older sister died a few years later. “Singing saved me,” Lisa-Kaindé has said. “I realised I could lose everyone, but at least I could survive.”

Their French-Venezuelan mother and manager, singer Maya Dagnino, encouraged Lisa-Kaindé’s songwriting and their interest in the Yoruba chants, prayers and folk songs of their ancestors; their name is inspired by the Yoruba word for twins, ibeji.

“Twins are really important in the Yoruba villages [of Nigeria and Benin] because of mythology and legends,” Lisa-Kaindé again. “Yoruba is important for the two of us. We are taking religious songs and putting them in our music, which is spiritual. We are doing this because we love this music, we believe it is our identity, we feel it’s our legacy and it’s a way to connect with our ancestors.”

Electronica is equally important, say the Paris-based 20 year olds. Twins with twin influences, who grew up in a modern metropolis listening to the likes of English electronic music producer James Blake and American singer and rapper Frank Ocean; they perform a cover of rapper Jay Electronica’s ‘Better in Tune With the Infinite’ in their sets. British indie producer Richard Russell of XL Recordings – home to FKA Twigs and Radiohead – is behind the deft electro touches on the album. It’s these, along with the girls’ stunning looks and justified-and-ancient vibe, which is making the Zeitgeist proud.

According to Naomi, “it is who we are. We’re not putting this on. You cannot have Ibeyi without having both of these sides. They’re what complete us.”

+ ALBUM Ibeyi’s debut album was reviewed in #109

+ DATE Ibeyi will perform at WOMAD Charlton Park on July 24

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Youtube Playlist #110

Posted on July 31st, 2015 in Recent posts, Reviews by .


Now that you’ve read all about the music featured in the latest issue of Songlines, don’t forget you can also watch and listen to it on our Youtube playlist, which we compile every issue for your viewing pleasure. You can find the full playlist here.

Here are a few of this issue’s highlights:

Jane Cornwell speaks to the French-Cuban sister duo who are blending Cuban and electronic music. 

Combining the devout with the Dreamtime, Australia’s sweetest voice sings the church hymns of his youth.

Souad Massi
Andy Morgan speaks to Souad Massi and her mission to portray Islam’s philosophy of love, peace and tolerance.

Peggy Seeger
We marvel at the remarkable career of the influential American folk singer who recently released a video and song about the closure of her local pool.

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WOMAD 2015: Our 10 Recommendations

Posted on July 22nd, 2015 in Features, Live, Recent posts by .



Criolo, photographed by Caroline Bittencourt

As the Songlines team get ready for the upcoming weekend, they share some of their recommendations

With mere hours between us and WOMAD festival, all of us at Songlines HQ cannot wait to get onsite for this celebration of world music. In anticipation, editor Jo Frost, deputy editor Alexandra Petropoulos, news editor Edward Craggs, contributor Alex de Lacey and intern Elicia Casey-Winter have selected the ten bands we’re most looking forward to this weekend.

And don’t forget that we have an unprecedented number of CD signings at the Songlines stands this weekend, so don’t miss your chance to say hello to some of your favourite artists – and Songlines team members! Find out more about Songlines at WOMAD.

Molotov Jukebox 
– Friday, Open Air Stage, 1pm
This band’s own brand of ‘tropical urban Gypsy’ music is sure to bring out the sunshine this weekend… even if only metaphorically. ECW

Kapela Maliszow
– Friday, BBC Radio 3 Charlie Gillett Stage, 2pm
This family trio – made up of father Jan Malisz, son Kacper and daughter Zuzanna – breathe a delightful new life into Polish traditional music, and all on homemade instruments! AP

– Friday, Big Red Tent, 3pm
These guys mix up Middle Eastern sounds with an urban flare while their lyrics call for freedom and equality; it’s danceable music with a conscience. AP

Totó la Momposina 
 Friday, Open Air Stage, 3pm
The doyenne of Afro-Colombian song makes a long-awaited return to the UK. JF

Tal National
 – Friday, Open Air Stage, 5pm
Looking forward to checking out this band and their alternative, Nigerien take on the desert blues sound. JF

– Friday, BBC Radio 3 Charlie Gillett Stage, 10:30pm
Lots of buzz about this French-Cuban sister duo and their hypnotic Cuban electronic mix, so keen to experience them live.  JF

 – Saturday, Open Air Stage, 3pm
Having rapidly become one of the most important musicians in Brazil, the São Paolo rapper’s hard-hitting lyrics and stage prowess are not to be missed. EC

Hannah Peel 
– Saturday, Bowers & Wilkins Sound System, 6pm
I first heard Hannah Peel sing at Green Man Festival in 2011 accompanied solely by her music box. Since then she’s released a solo album, two EPs, and collaborated on The Magnetic North’s project that celebrated the music of Orkney. ADL

The Very Best 
– Saturday, Big Red Tent, 7pm
I can’t think of a better way to kick-start Saturday evening than with the euphoric groove of this duo of Johan Hugo and Malawian Esau Mwamwaya. EC

Atomic Bomb! The Music of William Onyeabor
 – Saturday, Open Air Stage, 9:30pm
This celebration of the elusive Nigerian funk maestro follows the rediscovery of his work on Who is William Onyeabor? released by David Byrne’s imprint Luaka Bop in 2013. Already confirmed to perform are legendary saxophonist Charles Lloyd and American-Sudanese artist Sinkane, with a whole host of guests still to be announced! ADL

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Glastonbury reveals 2015 line-up

Posted on April 15th, 2015 in Live, News, Recent posts by .


Arguably the most anticipated festival announcement every year, Glastonbury has released the names of 75 artists who will head to Worthy Farm between June 24-28

In a repetition of last year, the third headline slot remains shrouded in mystery, with Foo Fighters and Kanye West so far confirmed to top the Pyramid Stage. Other notable names on the list include Kinshasa collective Kasai Allstars, French-Cuban twins Ibeyi, Alabama Shakes, The Moody Blues and Mercury Music Prize winners, Young Fathers.

Songlines will be returning for our 10th year at Glastonbury to host artist signing sessions at the West Holts Stage. More details will follow over the coming months.

For the full line-up and more information, visit the official Glastonbury page.

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