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Ibeyi Talk About Their Yoruba Heritage In A New Interview

French-Cuban duo Ibeyi speak about their Yoruba heritage and defining their sound as "contemporary Negro spirituals" in an interview with q.


French-Cuban duo Ibeyi recently stopped by Canadian radio show q to chat about their self-titled debut album with host Shad. During the interview, the twin sisters talked in detail about their Yoruba heritage, defining their sound as "contemporary Negro spirituals," and the role their late father Miguel “Anga” Diaz (a past member of Buena Vista Social Club) played in their musical development.

"Yoruba comes from Nigeria and Benin... when the slaves where shipped to Cuba the culture remained," mentions Lisa-Kaindé Díaz. "You can find Yoruba culture in Brazil as well, and of course, in Cuba [where] it's a huge part of the culture. Since we were little we were listening to [Yoruba] chants... The amazing part is that we started singing Yoruba at 16 in Paris and not in Cuba [laughs] with our teacher Orlando Poleo, who's a huge percussionist. He's the one that taught us how to sing Yoruba."

"In our culture [and] in the Yoruba culture the history of your ancestors is very important... it's part of us... I'm sure some Yoruba people can be not completely okay with what we're doing — because it is religious prayers. Some of them might be a little bit shocked with what we are doing. But I think it's part of doing something new and evolving... and making something that is us."

Watch the full interview below and revisit our Okay Acoustic session and Day Out videos with Ibeyi underneath.

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Photo Credit: Getty Images

Global Citizen x OkayAfrica: The Impact of Conflict on Children

An estimated 1.4 million children have been hit by schools closing in the Tigray region of Ethiopia amid conflict and crisis. Here's how that's impacting Ethiopia's children.

In times of conflict and war, school-aged children could have their futures defined by whether or not they can access education amid ongoing violence.

Ethiopia's northern region of Tigray is in the midst of a war that has impacted millions of lives and affected neighboring regions, Amhara and Afar. The war — which has forced citizens to flee, has tipped the region into famine, and has barricaded humanitarian aid from reaching the most vulnerable — has now been going on for about 11 months.

As the beginning of the school season draws nearer, safely reopening schools, making education accessible, and protecting children from the impacts of violence in the affected regions is a priority for aid agencies.

"As schools prepare to reopen in early October in most parts of the country, in Tigray and the bordering regions of Afar and Amhara, where the conflict has expanded, education remains at a standstill," Director of Education Cannot Wait, Yasmine Sherif, told Global Citizen.

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