Nearly three years ago, the twin artists Lisa-Kaindé and Naomi Díaz burst onto the music scene with their haunting songs "Oya" and "River," which were soon followed by remarkable eponymous debut. That first album was lovely, aching, and suffused with a melancholy spirit and Afro-Cuban plays of shade and light.
However, for the first single from the 22-year-old sisters' highly anticipated sophomore album, expected later this year on XL, the duo has spun away from brooding into unbridled happiness.
"Away Away" still bears the hallmarks of their sound: Lisa-Kaindé's sweet vocals laid atop Naomi's deeper voice and percussion; haunting electronics; and English lyrics eventually giving way to Yoruba chant.
But "Away Away" is a song about joy, through and through. The audio version of the song begins with the sound of wailing sirens — a tragically commonplace harbinger of chaos in 2017 — before the buoyant beats kick in; it's a conscious turn away from grief and worry. By contrast, those warning notes are barely audible in the video; instead, it's all sweetness and sunshine.
Directed by Christian Beuchet, the "Away Away" video has a loose, spontaneous and intimate feel, with the artists simply dancing and goofing around in the studio; it's like the best selfie footage ever. (It doesn't hurt that the Díaz women are absolutely stunning — a fact that has not escaped the notice of Beyoncé, who had them appear on Lemonade, or the house of Chanel, who cast them in the 2016/17 cruise show.)
And yet, Ibeyi acknowledges that happiness has its own, inverted twin of sorts. As the song concludes, they shift into the Yoruba language of their Afro-Cuban heritage to sing a chant to the orisha Aggayu. Aggayu is often depicted as a ferryman, the strength-giving figure who provides support in life's hard moments. In nature, Agayu is also the volcano — and the seething, destructive fiery lava that also provides incredibly fertile soil. And Ibeyi's recognition of life's dualities is part of what makes their music such a pleasure.
Ibeyi goes on a European tour starting this fall.