With the release of their self-titled debut earlier this year, Ibeyi, the twin sibling duo comprised of 19 year-old French-Cuban twin sibling duo, Lisa-Kainde Diaz and Naomi Diaz have received international attention for a sound that draws from contemporary pop, hip-hop, electronica, blues, jazz and traditional Yoruba folk music. Now, if you’ve been following JOVM over the past few months, you may be familiar with the fact that I’ve compared their approach (and not their sound) to Henry Cole and the Afrobeat Collective‘s Roots Before Branches, as the material on the album makes a sonic and spiritual connection between the African Diaspora here in the West and with Africa in a way that’s timeless and yet incredibly modern.
Since the release of the Diaz sisters’ self-titled debut, it’s been documented that they’re big hip-hop fans. In fact, once they heard Jay Electronica‘s unreleased track, “Better In Tune With The Infinite (Bibo No Aozora)” which draws from a piano sample by world-renowned composer Ryuichi Sakamoto, the Diaz sisters were enthralled — and they immediately learned every line of the song, turned each rhymed line into a vocal line, and began covering the song live at shows. Their rendition/reworking, which the French-Cuban sibling duo renamed “Exhibit Diaz” has been a fan favorite, and as soon as you hear it, you’ll see why: much like their full-length effort, the single features the Diaz sister’s gorgeous harmonies paired with an eerily sparse keyboard chords and hip-hop influenced beats with handclaps, turning a hip-hop song into a hip-hop influenced jazz standard.
Live, Naomi Diaz (in the video, she’s on the left) plays the percussive instruments of cajon and batas, a double-headed hourglass shaped drum while Lisa-Kainde Diaz (in the video, she’s on the right) plays piano and keyboards, while both sisters create gorgeous harmonies with each other — although on occasion they’ll switch instrumental duties.
With Naomi Diaz playing the percussive instruments of cajon and batas and Lisa playing piano, the twins have started to gain attention across the blogosphere for a sound that employs elements of contemporary pop, hip-hop, electronica, jazz, blues and traditional Yoruban sounds in a trippy mix that manages to do something similar to what Henry Cole and the Afrobeat Collective‘s Roots Before Branches does – make a sonic and spiritual connection between the African Diaspora of the Caribbean, the rest of the Western world and Africa itself, and in a way that’s both modern and timeless.