Naomi and Lisa-Kaindé Diaz from Ibeyi (photo by Suleika Muller, PR)
As FUV pays tribute to music pioneers over the next month, we’ve also reached out to a new generation of emerging artists and innovators to discuss the “Five Essential Albums” that have guided them creatively and personally.
Time really flies. It’s hard to believe it’s been seven years since FUV first met their twin sisters Lisa Kainde and Naomi Diaz of Ibeyi at SXSW in Austin, where they charmed us by singing their single “River”, not only a cappella, but in bed, snuggled up under a duvet! The duo went on to release two albums, their 2015 self-titled debut and 2017. Ash. On May 6, they will release their third, Spell 31through XL Recordings.
The Diaz sisters, who call Paris their hometown, traveled to London to record with producer Richard Russell for this new project and met intriguing British collaborators for three songs, including Jorja Smith (“Lavender & Red Roses”), Pa Salieu (“Fait d’or”), and Berwyn (“Rise Above”). As always, the Franco-Cuban sisters’ Yoruba roots are reflected in the ten new songs, as is an arc of spiritual healing and a mystical undertow: a poem found in The Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead inspired the title of the album.
As for looking back at the “Music Pioneers” that influenced them, Lisa-Kaindé and Naomi took turns picking FUV’s “Five Essential Albums” – and they also picked a sixth album, by their father. , the legendary Cuban percussionist Miguel “Angá” Diaz. Sadly, he passed away in 2006, before he had a chance to hear the beautiful uplifting music his daughters recorded, but his spirit is tied to everything they do – in fact, Lisa-Kaindé and Naomi have found a way to include both their parents on Spell 31.
Ibeyi’s five essential albums:
Nina simone, Wild is the wind
Lisa-Kaindé: “She’s my goddess. My inspiration forever. I love her voice and the way she played the piano. I admire her and the way she reflected the violence of her time. She is the example of what it means to be an artist. She healed me in so many ways through music. She made me feel heard and not alone. She made me feel proud of my ancestry. Proud of my roots.
Kendrick Lamar, Pimp a butterfly
Naomi: “Kendrick has been a part of our lives since we were teenagers. We used to listen to him a lot, and still to this day. He’s such an inspiring and powerful artist. He’s different, his sound is different. I remember at how much Lisa and I rapped about his songs together when we were in Cuba. Timeless.”
Meshell Ndegeocello, Bitter
Lisa-Kaindé: “I remember listening to this album with my mother and it was a gift that changed my life. It was like having a conversation with the universe. His music, his lyrics, his voice, his way of playing bass… me, Meshell is one of the most important musicians of our time. His albums changed me. They have taught me so much and still touch me so deeply. They are transformers. She inspired me to write music.
Like a, Like a
Lisa-Kainde: “Like a is an album I listened to thousands of times when I was 14. She is the first artist I have ever heard who made pop-soul music while singing in Yoruba, her native Nigerian language. Her and our dad are the reasons I knew it was possible to blend my Afro-Cuban culture with the music I loved and wanted to make. I identified with her so strongly. She also wrote a song for her mother called “So Beautiful” which inspired me to write “Mama Says”. I remember how much I wanted to be on stage with her when I was a teenager, watching her from the audience. Years later, I had the honor of joining her. I am eternally grateful.”
Naomi: “Prince is one of our most intimate family memories. At home, we listened to a lot of music and remember dancing to his songs as one of the happiest parts of our childhood. A pure happiness. of our concerts have changed our lives. He is an important part of Ibeyi’s journey and we always feel connected to him.
Angá Diaz, Echu Mingua
Lisa-Kaindé and Naomi: “Our father left us a legacy when he passed away. His music is one of the ways we continue to connect with him and feel him. He was a teacher for so many musicians and we know that part of the reason we created Ibeyi is to let him live through us and our music. I hope he would be proud of us and the music we make. We are definitely proud and his fans.”
– Lisa-Kaindé and Naomi Diaz of Ibeyi