Ibeyi, made up of Cuban-born, Paris-based twin sisters Naomi and Lisa-Kaindé Díaz, is an electronic doom soul duo who are forging a new spiritual sound with their debut EP Oya. The 19-year-old musicians are XL Recordings‘ newest signees, and their introductory singles “Oya” and “River” possess a hypnotic blend of hip-hop, electronica, and blues infused with Yoruba prayers and folk songs that will transport you to a higher realm upon first listen.
Singing in French, English, Spanish and Yoruba, Ibeyi count among their primary influences Nina Simone, Meshell Ndegeocello, James Blake and their late father, the celebrated Cuban jazz percussionist Miguel “Anga” Diaz. Ibeyi’s vocal range, which wavers from the raspy and wraith-like to the sonorous and divine, is ideal for their sonic palette which revels in the phantasmagorical groove of liturgical Yoruba songs. Besides singing in Yoruba–which was brought to Cuba by West African slaves–Ibeyi honor their father’s legacy and Afro-Cuban heritage through their percussive production and use of live instruments. Beatsmith Naomi plays both the cajón and the batá while Lisa-Kaindé remains more in tune with the musical mythos of Ibeyi’s sound by weaving Yoruba lore deeply into their lyrics. “River” is dedicated to the goddess Oshun (the mother of the Ibeyi, and their first single and EP are both named for Oya (the benevolent orisha who took the Ibeyi in after Oshun was accused of witchcraft for birthing twins and kicked them out).
A 20-year-old girl from South Africa known as Sarah “Saartjie” Baartman was recruited to work in a Paris zoo because of a genetic characteristic known as steatopygia – protuberant buttocks and elongated labia. Whites went to the zoo to look at her buttocks and at other naked Black women with the same shape.
Gawking with desire: since forever and today.
Black women have been able to envy white women (their looks, their easy life, the attention they seem to get from men); they could fear them (for the economic control they have had over black women’s lives) and even love them (as mammies and domestic workers can); but black women have found it impossible to respect white women. I mean they never had what black men have had for white men—a feeling of awe at their accomplishments. Black women have no abiding admiration of white women as competent, complete people. Whether vying with them for the few professional slots available to women in general, or moving their dirt from one place to another, they regarded them as willful children, pretty children, mean children, ugly children, but never as real adults capable of handling the real problems of the world.
Toni Morrison, What the Black Woman Thinks of Women’s Lib. from What Moves at the Margin; Selected Non-Fiction Edited and with an Introduction by Carolyn C. Denard. 2008.
This is the most accurate quote about the relationship between Black feminists and white women in general I have ever read.
I told the women I work for that they are helpless. No way I could get away with what they do.
Friendly reminder that Dia de Los Muertos is pretty much a funeral, and the dead being represented in the holiday are actual dead people who had families and friends and hopes and dreams. So just as you wouldn’t throw on black clothes and join a group of mourners because they look so fashionable in black, you shouldn’t paint your face and put marigolds in your hair and make altars because it looks cool to you. Thank.