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French-Cuban twins Ibeyi are back with their second album ‘Ash’, a record that tackles subjects as diverse as womanhood, spirituality, activism and racism, all conveyed in Ibeyi’s own unique blend of modern pop, hip-hop and electronic influenced music that incorporates the traditional sounds of Yorùbá. ‘Ash’ is the follow-up to the twin’s 2015 critically acclaimed, eponymous debut album that made Ibeyi a globally recognized name.
While Ibeyi’s first album grappled with the past—the sister’s relationship, origins, loss, and roots. It earned them fans and collaborators in some of the most iconic and crucial artists of today, Beyoncé and Alvin Ailey included. By contrast, Ash is a more visceral and potent political statement, and while firmly rooted in Afro-Cuban culture and history, finds itself entirely concerned with Ibeyi’s present: Who Lisa-Kaindé and Naomi are, what’s important to them, and how they live today, especially given that the spheres, both personally and politically, are entirely different from when Ibeyi was recorded.
‘Ash’ was recorded in November 2016 in London with producer Richard Russell at his studio The Copper House. The album features twelve new tracks, including ‘Away Away’ which was released in June, and includes appearances from Kamasi Washington, Mala Rodriguez, Chilly Gonzales, Meshell Ndegeocello.
‘Deathless,’ the second track to be debuted from ‘Ash’, features the incomparable Kamasi Washington on saxophone, and was written in the wake of an experience that Lisa-Kaindé had when she was sixteen that involved her being wrongly arrested by French police. She went home and wrote the emotive ‘Deathless,’ in which she describes her experience: “I was writing ‘Deathless’ as an anthem for everybody!” Lisa-Kaindé says. “For every minority. For everybody that feels that they are nothing, that feels small, that feels not cared about and I want them to listen to our song and for three minutes feel large, powerful, deathless. I have a huge amount of respect for people who fought for, what I think, are my rights today and if we all sing together ‘we are deathless, ’they will be living through us into a better world”.
Step out of the gloom and into Ibeyi’s world, a place of optimism, openness and acceptance. The modern world never looked so beautiful as it does through Ibeyi’s lens