Tag: Henry Cole and the Afrobeat Collective

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Live Concert Photography: Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival at the Prospect Park Bandshell 6/8/19: Ibeyi with Sudan Archives

Live concert photography of Ibeyi with Sudan Archives at Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival at Prospect Park Bandshell earlier this month.

Live Footage: Ibeyi Performs “Deathless” with Harlem Gospel Choir and Onyx Collective on “Late Show with Stephen Colbert”

Deriving their name from the Yoruba word for twins ibeji, the French-Cuban twin sibling duo Ibeyi (pronounced ee-bey-ee), comprised of Lisa-Kainde Diaz and Naomi Diaz have become JOVM mainstays and a critically applauded, internationally recognized act. Interestingly, the Diaz sisters are the daughters of the late and renowned percussionist Anga Diaz, best known as a member of Buena Vista Social Club, and for collaborating with Ibrahim Ferrer, Ruben Gonzalez and Compay Segundo. The elder Diaz died when the girls were 11, and upon his death, they studied Yoruba folk songs and the cajon, an Afro-Carribean drum, which their father had specialized in throughout most of his musical career. 

While Yoruba is primarily spoken throughout Nigeria and Benin, it has been spoken in some fashion in Cuba since the 1700s when the slave trade brought Africans to the Caribbean — and to the island. When the Diaz sisters began studying their late father’s musical culture and heritage, it gave them a much greater understanding of the man, where he came from while putting them in touch with their ancestral history. Unsurprisingly, the Diaz sister’s self-titled Ibeyi debut, which was released to critical praise in 2015, thematically dealt with the past — the loss of their father, their relationship with each other, their father’s and their own origins and roots, while sonically the duo’s sound possessed elements of contemporary electro pop, hip-hop, jazz, the blues and traditional Yoruba folk music in a way that brought to mind Henry Cole and the Afrobeat Collective‘s Roots Before Branches as both albums conscientiously made a spiritual and musical connection between the African Diaspora in the West and the motherland. 

Up until last year though, some time had passed since I had personally written about  the Diaz sisters, and as it turned out, they had spent the better part of 2016 writing and recording the material that would comprise their sophomore effort Ash, which XL Records released late last year. Now, as you recall the album’s first album, “Away Away,” lyrically and thematically focused on accepting pain as a necessary part of life, while celebrating life for its complicated entirety.  Of course, sonically speaking, the track further cements their  reputation for resoundingly positive messages sung with their gorgeous harmonizing paired with slick and swaggering electronic production. However, the material overall reportedly finds the Diaz sisters writing some of the most visceral, politically charged material they’ve released to date; but while centered on who the Diaz sisters are after a year in which racial, gender and sexual identity issues are among the most important and vexing of our current time. 

“Deathless,” Ash‘s second single found the Diaz sisters collaborating with contemporary jazz great Kamasi Washington, who contributes saxophone lines that mange to be mournful, outraged, proud, bold and riotous — within a turn of a phrase. The song is inspired by one of the most outrageous and humiliating experiences of Lisa-Kainde Diaz’s life — she was was wrongly arrested by French police for a crime she didn’t commit. Throughout the song is a sense of fear, knowing that the police could practically do anything they wanted without reprisal; of righteous rage that’s palpable yet impotent in the face of a power that can crush you at will; of the burgeoning recognition that you can never escape racism or unfair treatment; and the shame of being made to feel small and worthless while knowing that it’ll happen repeatedly throughout your life. As Lisa Kainde explains in press notes I was writing Deathless as an anthem for everybody!” For every minority. For everybody that feels that they are nothing, that feels small, that feels not cared about and I want them to listen to our song and for three minutes feel large, powerful, deathless. I have a huge amount of respect for people who fought for, what I think, are my rights today and if we all sing together  ‘we are deathless, ’they will be living through us into a better world.”

Just the other day, the Diaz sisters made their major television debut performance on Late Show with Stephen Colbert, which features the Harlem Gospel Choir and Isaiah Barr of Onyx Collective on the last day of Black History, as a fiery and passionate reminder of the plight of black folk across the African Diaspora. 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays IBEYI Return with Strikingly Gorgeous Visuals for New Single “I Wanna Be Like You”

Over the past three or four years, I’ve written quite a bit about French-Cuban twin sibling act Ibeyi (proounbed ee-bey-ee), who have become JOVM mainstays and an internationally applauded act. And as you may recall, Lisa-Kainde and Naomi Diaz’s self-titled, full-length debut thematically focused on the past as it drew upon the loss of their legendary father Anga Diaz, their relationship with each other, their origins, and a connection to their roots– while sonically meshing elements of contemporary electro pop, hip-hop, jazz, the blues, Cuban folk music and Yoruba folk music in a way that brought Henry Cole and the Afrobeat Collective‘s Roots Before Branches to mind.

The duo’s highly-anticipated sophomore effort Ash was released today and the reportedly the album’s material finds the duo writing some of the most personal, visceral and politically charged material they’ve released to date — and while continuing to be firmly rooted in the Afro-Cuban culture that has influenced their personal and creative lives, the material thematically focuses on who the Diaz sisters are now, in a period in which the world has seemingly turned upside down, and issues of racial, gender and sexual identity continue to be at the core of society’s most vexing sociopolitical issues. 

Ash’s fourth and latest single “I Wanna Be Like You” pairs the Diaz Sister’s gorgeous harmonies with a sparse and hyper modern production consisting of Afro-Cuban percussion emphasized with stuttering beats, whistling and shimmering synths and an effortlessly slick and soulful hook but much like it’s predecessors, the song continues a further exploration of the sisters identity within a world in which identity, and being true to it is desperately needed. 

Directed by Remi Besse, the recently released video for “I Wanna Be Like You” continue a lengthy string of striking visuals that emphasize the Diaz Sisters unique role as twins and as separate individuals, with their distinct personalities and moods  — and of course, throughout they also remind the listener and viewer that they have a profound intimacy. 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Ibeyi Team up with Mala Rodriguez on Sensual New Single “Me Voy”

This weekend will be the among the busiest weekends I’ve had in some time, as I’ll be covering The Meadows Music and Arts Festival, so I don’t know how much I’ll be able to post — but it’ll be absolutely fucking worth it; however, in the meantime, let’s get to the business at hand, right? 

Now, over the past three or four years, the French-Cuban twin sibling duo Ibeyi (pronounced ee-bey-ee) have become both internationally applauded and JOVM mainstays. And as you may recall, the duo comprised of Lisa-Kainde Diaz and Naomi Diaz derive their name from the Yoruba word for twins — ibeji. The Diaz Sisters’ self-titled full-length debut was released in 2015 to critical praise, and the album thematically focused on the past — the loss of their legendary father Anga Diaz, their relationship with each other and their origins and a connection to their roots, with the album sonically meshing elements of contemporary electro pop, hip-hop, jazz, the blues and traditional Yoruba folk music in a way that brought Henry Cole and the Afrobeat Collective‘s Roots Before Branches to mind.  

Up until recently some time had passed since I had written about the Diaz sisters but as it turns out, they had spent the better part of last year writing and recording the material that would eventually comprise their highly anticipated sophomore, full-length effort Ash, which is slated for a September 29, 2017 through  XL Records. The album’s first single “Away Away,” lyrically and thematically focuses on accepting pain as a part of life, and recognizing that it’s a necessary part of life, while celebrating life for its complicated entirety. Of course, sonically speaking, the track further cements their  reputation for resoundingly positive messages sung with their gorgeous harmonizing paired with slick and swaggering electronic production. However, the material overall reportedly finds the Diaz sisters writing some of the most visceral, politically charged material they’ve released to date — and while being firmly rooted in Afro-Cuban culture and history, the material thematically centers on the present — who the Diaz sisters are now, after a year in which the world has turned upside down, and issues of racial, gender and sexual identity are at the core of our most vexing political issues.

“Deathless,” Ash‘s second single found the Diaz sisters collaborating with Kamasi Washington, who contributes saxophone lines that mange to be mournful, outraged, proud, bold and riotous — within a turn of a phrase. Thematically speaking, the song is inspired by an outrageous and humiliating experience Lisa-Kainde had when she was 16 — she was wrongly arrested by French police for a crime she didn’t commit. Throughout the song is a sense of fear, knowing that the police could practically do anything they wanted without reprisal; of righteous rage that’s palpable yet impotent in the face of a power that can crush you at will; of the recognition that you can never escape racism or unfair treatment; and the shame of being made to feel small and worthless while knowing that it’ll happen repeatedly throughout your life. As Lisa Kainde explains in press notes I was writing Deathless as an anthem for everybody!” For every minority. For everybody that feels that they are nothing, that feels small, that feels not cared about and I want them to listen to our song and for three minutes feel large, powerful, deathless. I have a huge amount of respect for people who fought for, what I think, are my rights today and if we all sing together  ‘we are deathless, ’they will be living through us into a better world.”

“Me Voy,” Ash’s latest single finds the Diaz sisters collaborating with Mala Rodriguez, the Latin Grammy Award-winning rapper known for sensual and provoking lyrics, in a slickly produced and sensual club banger in which Naomi Diaz’s bata is interacted with big, club rocking beats and swooning electronics finds the Diaz sisters singing lyrics completely in Spanish for the first time. As Naomi Diaz explains “English, Spanish and Yoruba inspire us to write different kinds of music and lyrics.” “We needed to sing in Spanish to set a sensual tone for this song. When women feel sensual, not only is it sexy, but also powerful,” adds Lisa-Kaindé Diaz. 

Directed by Manson and produced by Canada, the recently released music video features Ibeyi and Mala Rodriguez playing prominent roles. Beginning with the women hanging out together and singing the song, splits time between the women dancing sensually to the beat in front of strobe light or singing the song in a surreal, Adam and Eve-like backdrop. 

New Video: JOVM Ibeyi Returns with Highly Symbolic Visuals for Their Soulful and Swaggering Collaboration with Kamasi Washington “Deathless”

Now, if you’ve been following me on Instgram, Twitter and/or Facebook you’d know that the past 24 hours or so for me in the JOVM world have been insane and ridiculous amount of debauchery — thanks in part to attending High Waisted’s High Waisted at Sea 4. There’ll be more on that show at some point in the future, as I have to catch up on a shit-ton of photos, posts and correspondence. But more important, let’s get to the important business of the day, right? 

Over the past three or four  years, the French-Cuban twin sibling duo Ibeyi (pronounced ee-bey-ee) have become both internationally applauded and JOVM mainstays. And as you may recall, the duo comprised of Lisa-Kainde Diaz and Naomi Diaz drives their name from the Yoruba word for twins — ibeji.

But perhaps more important, the Diaz sisters are the daughters of renowned percussionist Anga Diaz, best known as a member of Buena Vista Social Club, and for collaborating with Ibrahim Ferrer, Ruben Gonzalez and Compay Segundo. Anga Diaz died when Lisa-Kainde and Naomi were 11, and upon his death, they studied Yoruba folk songs and the cajon, an Afro-Carribean drum, which their father had specialized in throughout most of his musical career. 

Interestingly enough, while Yoruba is primarily spoken throughout Nigeria and Benin, it’s been spoken in some fashion in Cuba since the 1700s when the slave trade brought Africans to the Caribbean. And when the Diaz sisters began studying their late father’s musical culture and heritage, it gave them a greater understanding of him and where he came from, but it also put them directly in touch with their ancestral history.  Unsurprisingly, the Diaz sisters’ self-titled full-length debut, which was released to critical praise back in 2015 thematically deal with the past — the loss of their father, their relationship, their father’s and their own origins and roots; in fact, their sound and aesthetic managed to seamlessly mesh contemporary electro pop, hip-hop, jazz, the blues and traditional Yoruba folk music in a way that reminded me quite a bit of Henry Cole and the Afrobeat Collective‘s Roots Before Branches in the sense that both albums conscientiously made a deeply spiritual and musical connection between the African Diaspora in the West and the motherland. 
Now, up until recently some time had passed since I had written about the Diaz sisters but as it turns out, they had spent the better part of last year writing and recording the material that would eventually comprise their highly anticipated sophomore, full-length effort Ash, which is slated for a September 29, 2017 through  XL Records. The album’s first single “Away Away,” lyrically and thematically focuses on accepting pain as a part of life, and recognizing that it’s a necessary part of life, while celebrating life for its complicated entirety. Of course, sonically speaking, the track further cements their  reputation for resoundingly positive messages sung with their gorgeous harmonizing paired with slick and swaggering electronic production. However, the material overall reportedly finds the Diaz sisters writing some of the most visceral, politically charged material they’ve released to date — and while being firmly rooted in Afro-Cuban culture and history, the material thematically centers on the present — who the Diaz sisters are now, after a year in which the world has turned upside down, and issues of racial, gender and sexual identity are at the core of our most vexing political issues. 

“Deathless,” Ash’s second and latest single finds the Diaz sisters collaborating Kamasi Washington, who contributes a saxophone lines that mange to be mournful, outraged, proud, bold and riotous — within a turn of a phrase. Thematically speaking, the song is inspired by an outrageous and humiliating experience Lisa-Kainde had when she was 16 — she was wrongly arrested by French police for a crime she didn’t commit. Throughout the song is a sense of fear, knowing that the police could practically do anything they wanted without reprisal; of righteous rage that’s palpable yet impotent in the face of a power that can crush you at will; of the burgeoning recognition that you can never escape racism or unfair treatment; and the shame of being made to feel small and worthless while knowing that it’ll happen repeatedly throughout your life. As Lisa Kainde explains in press notes I was writing Deathless as an anthem for everybody!” For every minority. For everybody that feels that they are nothing, that feels small, that feels not cared about and I want them to listen to our song and for three minutes feel large, powerful, deathless. I have a huge amount of respect for people who fought for, what I think, are my rights today and if we all sing together  ‘we are deathless, ’they will be living through us into a better world.”

Sonically speaking, the song pairs the Diazes’ gorgeous, bluesy singing and harmonizing with an uneasy yet ambient production consisting of whirring electronics, stuttering boom bap-like drum programming, punctuated by Kamasi Washington’s imitable horn sound. 

Directed by Eric Morris, the recently music video features highly symbolic visuals as it features the Diaz sisters giving birth to their dopplegangers in a what that resembles Russian nesting dolls — and naturally, it emphasizes the continued struggle for minorities and women to get a fair spot at the table. 

New Video: Ibeyi Returns with Triumphant and Joyous Visuals for “Away Away”

If you’ve been frequenting this site over the past three or four years, you may recall that I’ve written quite a bit about the critically applauded French-Cuban twin sibling duo, Ibeyi (pronounced ee-bey-ee). Comprised of Lisa-Kainde Diaz and Naomi Diaz, the sibling duo’s name is derived from the Yourba word for twins ibeji — and interestingly enough, the Diazes are the daughters of Anga Diaz, best known as a percussionist for the world famous Buena Vista Social Club, and for collaborating with Ibrahim Ferrer, Ruben Gonzalez and Compay Segundo.
Anga Diaz died when the Diaz sisters were 11 and upon his death, they studied Yoruba folk songs an the cajon, an Afro-Caribbean drum, which their father had specialized in throughout most of his musical career. Interestingly, while Yoruba is a dialect primarily spoken throughout Nigeria and Benin, it’s been spoken in some fashion in Cuba since roughly the 1700s when the slave trade brought Africans to the Caribbean. And in some way, it would seem that when the Diazes started studying their father’s instrument and his musical culture, it gave them a greater understanding of him, his music and their ancestral past. And with the release of their 2015 self-titled debut, the Diaz sisters quickly gained an international profile for a sound that draws from contemporary electro pop, hip-hop, jazz, the blues, and traditional Yoruba folk music in a fashion similar to Henry Cole and the Afrobeat Collective‘s Roots Before Branches; in fact, much like Roots Before Branches, Ibeyi’s work makes a musical and deeply spiritual connection between the African Diaspora here in the West and with Africa that’s both modern and incredibly timeless.  

Now, it’s been a couple of years since I’ve last written about the Diaz sisters, but after touring to support their self-titled debut, the sisters spent the better part of 2016 writing and recording their highly-anticipated, yet still untitled sophomore effort, slated for release through XL Records later the year. And the album’s first single “Away Way” will further cement their growing reputation for pairing slick and swaggering, contemporary electronic production with the Diazes’ gorgeous harmonizing and resoundingly positive and resolute messages, complete with traditional Yoruba chanting.

As Naomi Diaz explained in an email to the folks at The FADER, the song “reflects on at time when Lisa was gazing out her window and thinking about the permanent follow of creation and destruction.” Her sister Lisa-Kainde adds “We are witnesses of the world’s craziness (which is sonically symbolized by the sirens in the track) and we wonder if the promises of better days will be kept. The chorus of ‘Away Away’ represents a burst of positive energy, us taking a conscious step towards movement and action because only the people can make good on that promise. The song culminates with a Yoruba chant for the Orisha Aggayu, a ferryman known for providing strength. Aggayu in nature ignites a violent eruption of volcanos, however, with the intention that the lava ultimately refertilizes the soil to create new life.”  Lyrically and thematically the song focuses on accepting pain as a part of life, and recognizing that it’s a necessary part of life, while celebrating life for its complicated entirety. 

Directed by Christian Beuchet, the video features the Diazes goofing off dancing, singing and immersing themselves in the song’s positive energy and throughout the entire video they radiate an infectious, mischievous joy and comfort within each other. 

New Video: Afro-Haitian Experimental Orchestra Bridges the Sounds and Cultures of the African Diaspora with Funky Grooves

Album title track “Bade Zile” employs the use of propulsive and complex polyrhythms paired with call and response voodoo chants, a driving groove and swirling electronics to craft a sweaty and funky free-flowing jam that subtly nods to reggae and funk while directly and overtly nodding to Afrobeat and traditional Haitian music in dizzying and seamless fashion.

The recently released music video was primarily shot in Port-au-Prince during Fete La Musique and it captures the island nation’s stark poverty, its people’s beauty, dignity and pride, some gorgeous voodoo relics and the musicians of the Afro-Haitian Experimental Orchestra in the rehearsal room and on stage jamming, as well as the audience at the festival rocking out and enjoying the proceedings. And the entire time I watched the video I couldn’t help but be awed by such a proud, beautiful people, who have suffered so greatly.

New Audio: Check Out Ibeyi’s Stunning Rendition of Jay Electronica’s “Better In Tune With The Infinite (Bibo No Aozora)”

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 […]

New Video: OkayPlayer Catches Up with French-Cuban Sibling Duo Ibeyi For an Acapella Rendition of “Ibeyi (Outro)” in Central Park

Deriving their name from the Yoruba word for twins, ibeji, electro pop act Ibeyi (pronounced ee-bey-ee) are comprised of 19 year-old French-Cuban twin sibling duo, Lisa-Kainde Diaz and Naomi Diaz, who come from a rather […]