Ramblings of a Redhead Music Snob

Life & Music in New York, My City

Ibeyi

Posted by xneverwherex on April 3, 2015

Ibeyi
Flo Morrissey
The Independent
4/2/15

Ibeyi, the much-hyped SXSW band from Paris, had finally emerged in San Francisco. Ibeyi, meaning twins in Yoruba, had to be the most adorable twin sisters I had ever seen perform. I guess one word that kept coming to mind while watching them was ‘precious’. And their set was just that (which is not to take anything away from how brilliant they are).

The sisters came out to the stage to a crowd that was beyond excited to finally be seeing them perform. They kneeled down and picked up the candles on the stage and lit them before starting their first African chant. Add some traditional Cuban drums, and the beats came alive with Naomi keeping a consistent beat throughout the show. Coupled with sister, Lisa-Kaindé, singing in Yoruba (a bygone Nigerian and Santeria language) and the show was already that great.

The show felt at times voyeuristic as we watched the sisters perform chants and folk songs for the Yoruba gods. Lisa-Kaindé talked a lot about the gods and who they were and how they were a part of the songs. It felt like we were almost invading this sacred world, but the way they made the audience a part of it was nothing short of special.

Ibeyi

Ibeyi

The blend of Afro-Cuban, French music set to drum beats was a minimalist sound but simple and beautiful. With the piano playing of Lisa-Kaindé against Naomi’s drum beats and the strong vocals it was so easy to get lost in the music. The sultry dance moves as they glided across the stage just added to the ambience of their music. As the twins went into their single ‘River‘, they dedicated it to the gods (possibly Oshun and Shango – one was definitely for the water and the other earth) and had the crowd sing along “wash my soul again” as they sang “I will come to you river”. The end result was just beautiful as the crowd became a part of their show.

The crowd, who was filled with lots of very polite women (someone even complimented Lisa-Kaindé’s dress), would apologize each time they bumped you or wanted to squeeze in and take a picture. And it felt all too fitting with the sisters on stage who had that same vibe to them. They were all too thankful to be playing and so excited that the crowd was so into them. The crowd was electric and sang along to most of the songs as well as continued with the clapping as instructed. Songs like “Oya” just stood out with the gorgeous piano playing and warm/strong vocals against the simple percussions keeping up the beat. And “Ghosts” is nothing short of spectacular. You can just feel the pain in their voices as they harmonize together and come together as one. The pianos and drums together with their chanting and vocals just makes for a beautiful song.

In short, this is a band to see. While their music itself is simplistic, when they perform together its really something beautiful and magical. The twins come together as one and take us into a world that rarely we get to see. Its usually hard to translate that into a live performance but theyve managed to do just that. In a nutshell, its just precious and will take you out of your own world/life for just a bit.

Opener Flo Morrissey came out to a very loud audience. She was soft-spoken and picked up her guitar and played a short acoustic set. She had some good songs and her vocals are nothing short of impressive – strong and powerful – but she just couldn’t compete with a crowd that was far louder than her. It seemed most the time you could barely hear her singing but Im sure in the right venue she would be pretty awesome to hear.

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