Thursday, August 7, 2014

"River"- Ibeyi

(From MaMA Paris)

Trying to differentiate yourself from your parents is no easy task. Odds are at some point in late childhood/early adulthood you're struck with a desire to do something they never did. If you grew up in a family of police officers, maybe you want to be a lawyer. Parents were doctors? Your job might be as far removed from the medical profession as possible. Seeking this kind of separation isn't necessarily a spiteful act, few people want to live their lives in the shadow of their parents and the best way to "escape" is to seek a distinctive profession. Even tougher than going your own way though is embracing the same occupation. Unless you figure out a way to differentiate yourself from your parents, you'll always be compared to them because of the job you've chosen.

That's the precarious position twin sisters Lisa-Kaindé and Naomi Díaz of Ibeyi (ee-bey-ee) find themselves in. As the children of deceased Cuban percussionist/Buena Vista Social Club member Anga Díaz, the music the 19-year-olds create is influenced by their legendary conga playing father. At least on the surface. New track "River" from their Oya EP is marked by impeccably timed blasts of bass-heavy drum from XL Recordings head/producer Richard Russell. In a tribute to Cuba's rich but troubled multicultural past the twins spend the final moments of "River" singing in Yoruban, a West African language that arrived on Cuba's shores in the late 1700s. They're not completely their father's children though; Lisa-Kaindé and Naomi's vocal styles are more in line with modern indie R&B/soul than any "traditional" island sound. "My ego and my blame let me baptize my soul with the help of your waters," they breathlessly croon as background vocals moan and mechanical fingers snap in approval. "River" is proof the Díaz sisters can mine their father’s past without taking everything.

Ibeyi's Oya EP is now available for download on iTunes. Physical copies will drop later this summer.

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