If your Saturday mornings get off to a smooth start as you glide around the house listening to Downtempo grooves, then you’ll appreciate the eclectic crooning of Ibeyi- a musical duo that consists of twins Lisa-Kaindé Diaz and Naomi Diaz. Their name- Ibeyi- is ideal, as it literally translates to “Twins” in Yoruba- the Nigerian language they sing in and alternate between English. You may know them for their visually striking video River where the twins are calmly being held underwater, as if to magnify the relaxed, purifying elements water has, as they sing “wash my soul;” they are known for reflecting their artistry in unexpected ways.
Luckily, Ibeyi graced us with their live performance at Terminal West in Atlanta, June 6th, 2016. It was a jam session that felt personal- with no band or back-up singers- just the twins working their inherited talent; following closely in the footsteps of their father, Anga Diaz, who was a renowned Cuban percussionist. A palpable energy of gratitude and welcoming surged through the crowd as the floor in front of the stage was quickly packed with the anticipation of witnessing Ibeyi’s musicianship. Their performance with preluded with music from East- Atlanta locals Clavvs who loosened everyone up with the pairing of their electric sound and sultry vocals.
Proudly, Atlanta came alive in Ibeyi’s presence, welcoming the performances with cheers, blown kisses, and open arms. Ibeyi took the time to reflect, on something that happened last time they were in Atlanta and never happened again- the crowd chanting along word-for-word in Yoruba to tracks like “Eleggua.” Needless to say that moment was recreated. As they sang “Yanira,” a song written in tribute to their eldest sister that passed in 2013, we swayed to the words and felt the lyrics- so much so, that it brought some members of the audience to tears, which were quickly greeted by soothing embraces. Live performances are an advantage for these sisters, as they graciously feed off of the love and energy from the crowd and remit sentimental acoustics.
Although Cuban natives, France is where Ibeyi blossomed and now calls home. Their French- Cuban background allows them to bridge the gap between cultures through their music which may leave their lips in English, French, or Yoruba on any given night. Where they stand today is a culmination of their creative genes and a reflection of where their heart is with music- fond of the likes of Meshell Ndegeocello, Frank Ocean, Nina Simone, and other legends from our musical past. Some of their more recent work includes a live performance at the Chanel Cruise 2016/2017 show that took place in Cuba- befittingly. They also made an appearance in Beyonce’s Lemonade video amongst many other notable, soulful women. In all, it certainly turned out to be a night shared amongst old friends and new at Terminal West.
Ibeyi twins connecting with the crowd (seen below)
Clavvs opening up for Ibeyi (seen above)
Photos by Kimmy Ducasse