Lisa-Kaindé Diaz and Naomi Diaz, the twin sisters who make up the duo Ibeyi, have been recording music for three years now. But their status has only recently jumped from under-the-radar name to know to Global One To Watch after two very high-profile appearances in Beyoncé's Lemonade, the visual album that sent the world's thirst levels to record highs on April 23, and last week's historic Chanel Cruise 2017 show in Cuba. Born in Paris of French-Cuban descent, the sisters have already become an early summer '16 favourite. That's mostly because their soulful mix of Afro-Cuban, R&B and jazz, sung in English and Yoruba, is the stuff of outdoor music festival dreams.
Here, they talk about their best month ever.
From Lemonade to Chanel, you're winning right now. How have both impacted your life?
Lisa-Kaindé: We guess it must have made an impact. But we've been travelling or performing every single day for the last month, meeting new audiences in Coachella, in LA, in Mexico, in Colombia... and now Cuba where we had no Internet at all.
Beyoncé has become a master of the surprise album. Was it difficult to keep your participation in Lemonade a secret?
Naomi: Not difficult at all. It's fun to keep secrets. Everybody knowing everything about people's life is not our cup of tea.
You lived in Cuba for a portion of your childhood, what are your earliest memories of Havana?
Lisa-Kaindé: Taking baths in a tiny plastic pool in the yard or playing in the street in front of the house with our neighbours. We used to live in a very popular part of Havana, all the kids were always playing in the street and so did we.
How did it feel to go back there to perform last week?
Naomi: We're French and Cuban, we're part of both worlds so [when Chanel invited us to perform] it made sense. We were happy to be the link between our mom's and our dad's legacy. It was so powerful and moving. It was our first performance in Havana. We sang a Yoruba chant, it meant a lot to us. And to see the models, the musicians, the crew and the people dancing with the Rumberos at the end, the colours, the spontaneity, the joy...
How does Cuba influence your work?
Naomi: We sing the Yoruba chants our parents used to play at home, the same ones that were brought by the deported slaves from Nigeria and Benin. It's a huge part of the Afro Cuban culture and it has deeply influenced our work. But being European has influenced us both as much. We're a mix. We're black and white, we're Cuban and French, we're yin and yang.
A slew of celebrities and world figures have visited Cuba recently as travel restrictions from the U.S. are loosened — from Beyoncé and Jay-Z several years ago to the Obamas, the Rolling Stones and the Kardashians this year. What are your thoughts on the coming wave of tourism and development that's about to happen?
Lisa-Kaindé: Whatever helps break the blockade and gives the people a means of living the way they want is necessary. Cubans expected a lot from Obama's visit. But it has not changed their daily lives yet.
In 10 years, how do you hope Cuba will look?
Lisa-Kaindé: We hope it doesn't lose its unique beauty with advertising in the streets and McDonald's everywhere. But more important than the looks, we hope the people can keep their amazing dignity.