Moving ahead on the music scene with their second studio album, “Ash,” Lisa-Kaindé Diaz and Naomi Diaz are 22-year-old twins behind soulful melodies that encapsulate themes of empowerment, resilience, spirituality and jubilance.
The French-Cuban sisters — known as the duo Ibeyi — hone the talent of being able to incorporate disparate sounds into each of their songs. Raised by a French-Venezuelan mother and Cuban father, the twins allow their different backgrounds to coexist into the music they make, resulting in a masterful blend of hip hop, electronica, and R&B, all incorporated with lyrics in English, Spanish, and the Nigerian language of Yoruba.
“The young artists immersed themselves in their Afro-Cuban roots, and collaborated with musical luminaries,” according to a news release from The Rhythm Foundation, a nonprofit that is presenting Ibeyi in concert Saturday night at the North Beach Bandshell in Miami Beach.
The Diaz sisters began to create their niche in the music scene in 2014, rising with singles such as “River” and “Oya,” classifying their unique sound as a gamut of genres including Afro-Cuban percussion carried out with vocals entailing spirituality, family, womanhood and adversity.
The sisters create foot-stomping beats using their music to commemorate their father, Miguel “Angá” Diaz, percussionist for the Buena Vista Social Club who died in 2006, and their older sister Yanira, who died of a brain aneurysm in 2013, through their music.
Their father, a famous jazz musician, served as a major catalyst for the rushing love of music in their blood.
“He enjoyed all music and enjoyed mixing every type of music. He would listen to Eminem and three minutes after listen to a salsa song and three minutes after listen to Prince,” Lisa-Kaindé explained. “They [their parents] passed on this fever and encouraged us to embrace music in our life and love music.”
They grew up exposed to all sorts of musical talents from Yoruba chants to Cuban folk, to European music, and mainstream American music. Their Parisian childhood allowed them to engage with this cultural melting pot, with frequent visits to Cuba keeping them connected to their Yoruba heritage and adding to their extensive repertoire of influences creating their original, hypnotic sound.
“We started by making music in our bedroom as teenagers,” Lisa-Kaindé said. “One night I was bored and my mother said, ‘You should write a song,’ and I went back inside my room and I wrote a song. It came naturally.”
Encapsulating a variety of themes into a studio album comes as second nature to the duo, finding inspiration for each song in various forms.
“Everything. Life. It could be a sentence in a book, it could be an image, it could be part of a movie, it could be something that’s happened to us,” Lisa-Kaindé said.
Although “Ash” continues a thread of Ibeyi’s music — consisting of various languages to express their hopes, notions, and metaphysical selves — the album distinguishes itself from their first self-titled studio album, “Ibeyi.”
Their first album served as an homage to their father and sister; Ash is “about the world and us touring the world and realizing what is happening in the world. The subjects of these albums we have carried in our bellies for years,” Lisa-Kaindé said.
Ash, as Lisa-Kaindé describes it, is about hope and the power one has within themselves.
Their music portrays the worlds they were brought up in, carrying with it spiritual magic and personality into each lyric. They do not conform to the bounds of simply one culture or genre, but allow each to permeate into their songs — with Yoruba holding a vital place within their music.
“It’s natural. Some songs are meant to be in Spanish, like “Me Voy,” some others come in English, and some in Yoruba,” Lisa-Kaindé said. “It just flows; it isn’t a recipe, it’s not something we intellectualize. It comes from deep and it’s organic.”
At the heart of the album is an emotional core carried with the theme of transmission: what has been transmitted onto them by their parents, their culture, their teachers, their friends.
In “No Man Is Big Enough For My Arms” is a message of female empowerment. The song serves as an anthem for women’s strength, ambition, and power. Its lyrics include a quote by Michelle Obama from a speech the former first lady delivered during 2016 election: “The measure of any society is how it treats its women and girls.”
“Deathless” serves as an account of Lisa’s wrongful and racially motivated arrest at the age of 16, carrying a message that one is imperishable and that there is no end.
“It became our little anthem. Every night we would make everybody sing, “We are deathless” and our audience would sing it really loud and really strong; it’s really beautiful to see.”
Their sophomore album is described as an evolution of their first one, with a deeper meaning and sound behind it. Their songs are rallying cries against those that belie their youth that culminate into a mantra for justice warriors. The album itself is a story, complete with its own beginning, middle, and end, each song it’s own unique chapter to their story.
The writing process for the album began while on tour for their first album. They never stopped writing, as they are already writing music for their third album.
“You think about the next one when recording the first one. It’s funny, when we were doing the first one we were thinking about the second one and as we are doing the second one we are thinking of the third one.”
As the American leg of their tour is about to begin, kicking off in Miami, fans could expect the same passion and enthusiasm Ibeyi carried with them into each performance.
“It [performing] is magical; it’s unique; it’s deep,” says Lisa-Kaindé. “I feel like when we perform we are connected with ourselves, individually, and with our audience and even with our father. There’s nothing like it, really. There’s nothing like seeing people singing loud and dancing to our songs. It’s incredible.”
Fans can expect more in their upcoming performance: more singing, more percussion, more moving, more everything.
“The sky’s the limit with our music. We want to go deeper; that’s our adventure.”
If you go
▪ What: Ibeyi in concert hosted by The Rhythm Foundation.
▪ Where: North Beach Bandshell, 7275 Collins Ave., Miami Beach.
▪ When: 8 p.m. Saturday.
▪ Tickets: $30 advance / $35 day of show. Visit www.RhythmFoundation.com or call 305-672-5202.
On Nov 2, The Rhythm Foundation will present the Florida concert debut of iLe, a young singer from Puerto Rico’s renown alternative/hip-hop/rock band Calle 13.