Album Review | R&B

Ibeyi, ‘Ibeyi’

Ibeyi is the duo of twin sisters Lisa-Kaindé and Naomi Díaz, who were raised in Paris by parents of Afro-Cuban, French, and Venezuelan lineage. (Their late father was the renowned percussionist Miguel “Angá” Díaz of Buena Vista Social Club). They are cosmic soul sisters in the spirit of Erykah Badu and Seattle’s THEESatisfaction, and their new self-titled debut is a hypnotic collision of cultures and influences, of tradition and innovation. No album in recent memory comes close to casting such a broad net: The songs are meditations on family and heritage, steeped in electronic textures layered with samples, old prayers, Cuban instrumentation, and lithe vocals rooted in jazz and R&B. It’s exhilarating. The sisters also sing in English, French, and Yoruba, an African language that made its way to Cuba through the slave trade (“ibeyi” is the Yoruban word for “twins”). Over piano and minimal drum programming, “Mama Says” tells the story of a woman, presumably their mother, who struggles to find meaning in life after her husband is gone. And “Ghosts” neatly sums up what makes this debut so soulful: “Making words, making sounds, making songs/ Now you can feel my heart.” (Out now) JAMES REED