News

Stream Yoruba Doom Soul Sisters Ibeyi's New Single 'Mama Says'

Stream "Mama Says," the new single from Paris-based Afro-Cuban twin sister duo Ibeyi.


Barely a month after we reported on the ethereal doom soul stylings of Afro-Cuban vocalists and multi-instrumentalists Ibeyi, the rising duo have returned with a captivating new single titled "Mama Says." The somber lyrics of the track from Paris-based twin sisters Naomi and Lisa-Kaindé Diaz recount the loss of a loved one and retains the spiritual vibe introduced on their debut EP Oya with a harmonious invocation in Yoruba of Eleggua, the orisha of beginnings and endings. Lisa-Kaindé takes lead vocals on the tune and plays a simple piano melody accompanied by Naomi's booming cajón and body percussion. A live version of the track has been floating around since last summer, but this studio cut produced by Richard Russell premiered only a few days ago on Zane Lowe's BBC Radio 1 show. "Mama Says" is available for purchase on iTunes. Stream it below.

>>>Read Introducing French Afro-Cuban Twin Sisters Ibeyi & Their Yoruba Doom Soul

Music

6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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