Cuban-French Duo Ibeyi Are Leaving Their Mark On U.S. Pop Culture


Photo: David Wolff - Patrick/Redferns


Cuban-French Duo Ibeyi Are Leaving Their Mark On U.S. Pop Culture

Meet French-Cuban twin sisters Ibeyi, who mix their Yoruba Cuban roots with electric hip-hop sounds and more, earning them notice from Beyoncé

GRAMMYs/Sep 21, 2018 - 04:48 am

French-Cuban twin sisters Ibeyi may have been born and raised in Paris⁠ (they spent some time going back and forth to Cuba when they were small) but they are leaving footprints in U.S. pop culture in big ways⁠—even if their first performance on American soil only happened four years ago.

Sisters, Lisa-Kaindé and Naomi Diaz, can be seen through the "All Night" video made as a part of Beyoncé's film Lemonade⁠—Lisa-Kaindé with her hair in a fro and Naomi with looser long curls. This is also the most obvious way you can tell the twins apart. More recently, the sisters can be heard on the third part of Lin-Manuel Miranda's August #Hamildrop Hamilton content series. 

Ibeyi have long known about creating music, however. Their late father, Anga Diaz, was a conga player and a GRAMMY winner. He was a Yoruba, Cuban percussionist who played in Buena Vista Social Club and Orishas. And it is evident that his spirit and culture lives through their music.

To begin to understand Ibeyi as artists, it's important to look at their name. Ibeyi means "twins" in the Cuban Yoruba dialect. Influence of their Cuban and Yoruba roots⁠—Naomi can be seen playing the bata-cajon in performances⁠—are at the center of their music and mesh with synth beats, soul and hip-hop with lyrics in Yoruba, English and Spanish.

“Batas are religious drums," Lisa-Kaindé told Modern Drummer."So we take that which is from our culture, those songs and sounds that we’ve heard for so long, and we mix them with new music, music that we listen to every day. That’s an important part of Ibeyi—playing with the past and the future, or with the tradition and the new music.”

As teens they were signed by Richard Russell and the duo released their self-titled album in 2015. They released their latest album Ash September of last year. Watch the videos below to learn more about Ibeyi's sound:

"Rise Up Wise Up Eyes Up"

The #Hamildrop is a music series that draws inspiration from Hamilton, Miranda's rap musical that remixes the life of Alexander Hamilton. We’re honoured to be able to share with you our contribution to the #Hamildrop," Ibeyi tweeted out about the song about consciousness and resilience.


Beyoncé put on her followers to Ibeyi via an Instagram post with this song in the background back in 2015. The song is dedicated to the Yoruba goddess of sweet, fresh waters, Genius writes. "Carry away my dead leaves/ Let me baptize my soul with the help of your waters/ Sink my pains and complains/Let the river take them, river drown them/My ego and my blame," the song goes. "We want something that is twisted, we want something that is powerful," Lisa-Kiandé Lisa-Kia told Much about the video in which they had to hold their breath to shoot.


If you listen closely, death is a theme throughout some of Ibeyi's songs. "Deathless" features Kamasi Washington and is a song about a racist encounter Lisa-Kiandé had with a cop, she told  "Song Exploder

Rotimi On Performing At ESSENCE Fest, Growing Up African-American & More



Rotimi On Performing At ESSENCE Fest, Growing Up African-American & More

The Nigerian-American singer and actor sat down with the Recording Academy to talk about what inspired his latest album, 'Walk With Me'

GRAMMYs/Jul 8, 2019 - 10:04 pm

In 2015, Rotimi stepped into the New Orleans Superdome for the first time to experience the magic of ESSENCE Fest. Four years later, in 2019, the "Love Riddim" singer returned to the celebration as a performer, something he said was spoken into existence.

"Last year me and my manager had a conversation and I said, 'Listen, I'm going to be on the [ESSENCE] mainstage this year. 365 days later, we did it," Rotimi told the Recording Academy at the 25th annual ESSENCE Fest.

Rotimi, also an actor on Starz' "Power," has evolved since his last album, 2017's Jeep Music, Vol.1. The singer said he really hit home with its follow-up, the recently released Walk With Me, a project he worked hard for, putting in hours in the studio after filming on set.

"Walk With Me is the first time I actually felt like I was giving myself as an artist, and personally I feel like with everything else I have going on I wanted to show people that this is really what I do," he said. "I wanted people to understand who Rotimi is, who Rotimi was before, who I want to be and just understand my growth and the journey and my passion for what I do."

Part of why the album felt like such a representation of him is because it embodies beats of his African roots, something he said was very present growing up Nigerian-American. 

"I grew up with a lot of Fela Kuti and I grew up with Bob Marley," he said of his musical roots. "But I also grew up with Carl Thomas and Genuine and Usher, so there was a genuine mixture of who I am and what I've grown up to listen to. The actual Walk With Me project was a mixture of influences of Akon and Craig David."

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Allen Hughes' "The Defiant Ones" Wins Best Music Film | 2018 GRAMMY


Allen Hughes' "The Defiant Ones" Wins Best Music Film | 2018 GRAMMY

Director Allen Hughes' four-part documentary takes home Best Music Film honors for its portrayal of the unlikely partnership that changed the music business

GRAMMYs/Jan 29, 2018 - 02:09 am

The team behind The Defiant Ones celebrated a big win for Best Music Film at the 60th GRAMMY Awards. The crew awarded include director Allen Hughes and producers Sarah Anthony, Fritzi Horstman, Broderick Johnson, Gene Kirkwood, Andrew Kosove, Laura Lancaster, Michael Lombardo, Jerry Longarzo, Doug Pray & Steven Williams.

In a year rife with quality music documentaries and series, the bar has been set high for this dynamic category. The Defiant Ones is a four-part HBO documentary telling the story of an unlikely duo taking the music business by storm seems better suited for fantastical pages of a comic book, but for engineer-turned-mogul Jimmy Iovine and super-producer Dr. Dre, it's all truth.The Defiant Ones recounts their histories, their tribulations and their wild success. These include first-hand accounts from those who were there in Iovine's early days, such as Bruce Springsteen and U2's Bono, as well as those on board when Dre and Iovine joined forces, such as Snoop Dogg and Eminem.

The competition was stiff as the category was filled with compelling films such as One More Time With Feeling, Two Trains Runnin', Soundbreaking, and Long Strange Trip. 

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Pearl Jam Named Record Store Day 2019 Ambassadors

Pearl Jam

Photo: Kevin Mazur/


Pearl Jam Named Record Store Day 2019 Ambassadors

Pearl Jam's Mike McCready says "if you love music," record stores are the place to find it

GRAMMYs/Feb 13, 2019 - 04:05 am

Record Store Day 2019 will arrive on April 13 and this year's RSD Ambassadors are Pearl Jam. Past ambassadors include Dave Grohl, Metallica, Run The Jewels (Killer Mike and El-P), and 61st GRAMMY Awards winner for Best Rock Song St. Vincent.

McCready was also the 2018 recipient of MusiCares' Stevie Ray Vaughan Award

The band was formed in 1990 by McCready, Jeff Ament, Stone Gossard, and Eddie Vedder, and they have played with drummer Matt Cameron since 2002. They have had five albums reach No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and four albums reach No. 2.

"Pearl Jam is honored to be Record Store Day's Ambassador for 2019. Independent record stores are hugely important to me," Pearl Jam's Mike McCready said in a statement publicizing the peak-vinyl event. "Support every independent record store that you can. They're really a good part of society. Know if you love music, this is the place to find it."

With a dozen GRAMMY nominations to date, Pearl Jam's sole win so far was at the 38th GRAMMY Awards for "Spin The Black Circle" for Best Hard Rock Performance.

Pearl Jam will be performing on March 3 in Tempe, Ariz. at the Innings festival, on June 15 in Florence, Italy at the Firenze Rocks Festival and at another festival in Barolo, Italy on June 17. On July 6 Pearl Jam will headline London's Wembley Stadium.

Seattle's Museum Of Pop Culture To Host Pearl Jam Exhibit

Portugal. The Man To Aida Cuevas: Backstage At The 2018 GRAMMYs



Portugal. The Man To Aida Cuevas: Backstage At The 2018 GRAMMYs

Also see James Fauntleroy, Reba McIntire, Latroit, and more after they stepped off the GRAMMY stage

GRAMMYs/Jan 29, 2018 - 05:39 am

What do artists do the moment they walk off the GRAMMY stage from presenting, accepting an award or performing? Now, you can find out.

Take a peak at Album Of The Year GRAMMY winner Bruno Mars, 60th GRAMMY Awards Host James Cordon, Cardi B minutes before her electrifying performance of "Finesse," and more!

Also see Best Pop Duo/Group Performance GRAMMY winners Portugal. The Man posing with their first career GRAMMY Award, Best Roots Gospel Album GRAMMY winner Reba McIntire right after she walked offstage, Best R&B Song GRAMMY winner James Fauntleroy, Best Remixed Recording GRAMMY winner Latroit, and many more, with these photos from backstage during the 60th GRAMMY Awards.

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