Ibeyi releases new song “River” for free on iTunes

French-cuban sisters Naomi and Lisa-Kainde Diaz feature their eerie groove on their new track “River.” Hailing from the Afro-Caribbean Yoruba culture, the two twins use the epithet “Ibeyi” to identify themselves. Actually meaning twins in the Yoruba language, “Ibeyi,” is signed to the record label called XL Recordings. In the Yoruba culture, twins are particularly esteemed. Thus, the two 19-year-old sisters are venerated in their native land— not only for their identity as twins, but also for their stellar lyricism.

Initiating the song is an innovative beat with attention-grabbing rhythms, which instantly captivate the audience. The foundation of the song forms from Naomi’s instrumentation of a wooden-boxed cajón coupled with the beguiling sounds of the double-headed hourglass-shaped batá. Hauntingly beautiful “oo’s” seamlessly intertwine with the underlying beats, delicately and continually playing throughout the entire tune. This flow of rhythm and soft, delicate vocal carries on for fifty seconds of the song, setting a strongly rooted foundation. With a hint of polyphonic overtone singing, the duo’s voices ebb effortlessly into the background of the song.

With lyrics such as “Let me baptize my soul with the help of your waters/ Sink my pains and complains/ Let the river take them, river drown them,” it is uncertain whether the two twins are discussing a baptism or drowning. Nonetheless, the song is dazzlingly hypnotizing.

The majority of the song is sung in English, yet at a startlingly unexpected change of pace during the third minute of the piece, the song suddenly abandons its former instruments in favor of a more relaxed, authentic tribal rhythm; this portion of the song really pushes it to another level. The power and emotion felt by the sisters while singing in their native Yoruba language for the latter minutes of the song radiate brilliantly to listeners. Ending the song on this powerful note, the twins create a poignantly unforgettable song, leaving the audience ruminating on the meaning of the piece of music.