Ibeyi are the third of four cover stars to be featured on The FADER’s first-ever Diaspora Issue. The print issue hits newsstands May 23rd, and can be pre-ordered here.
Ibeyi is the French-Cuban twin-sister duo of Naomi and Lisa-Kaindé. The FADER’s Anupa Mistry met the 22-year-old pair in Cuba, where they discuss the significance of the country, growing up in Paris where they first practiced batá drumming and Yoruba chants, and the strong influence of Afro-Cuban faith practices on their music.
They also speak about honoring the death of their father and sister in music, their emotional debut album they made as teenagers, and their forthcoming album for XL Recordings — a more uplifting and vital effort made during a dark time in the world.
On the hopeful themes on their forthcoming album, recorded around Trump’s election:
Lisa: “The month we were making this album was pretty dark for the world. And I desperately needed a song that would remind us that we are… ‘Deathless.’ This want we have of humans being together and loving each other, no matter what. This is what we have to carry.”
Naomi: ”Otherwise we will be dead. If you don’t dream, you’re dead.”
Their mother, Maya, on her initiation into Santeria:
“It was so, so long, and hard. Really hard. This wasn’t my country and I was scared, but I felt that going through [the initiation] with Anga was the deepest way to understand Cuba, its ancestors, and Anga himself. It was the deepest love proof I could give to him and his country.”
On honoring the death of their father and sister in their music:
Lisa: “Our father died when we were 11, and we’d mourned through music, being with our family and talking about him — and it.”
Naomi: “I don’t feel we mourned. Well, it was not like a mourning process where everyone is screaming and crying.”
Lisa: “But that was it! It was joyful. And how did we mourn Yanira? We went on [a European] tour the next day. Every night, we dedicated the whole show to her. That is how we deal with it: we play for them. Death is hard when you push it away, because it comes back.”
Read the full cover story via The FADER