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Arts in Review

Soundbite: Ibeyi – Ash

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French-Cuban twin sister duo, with a global sound — sounds from soul-pop, hip-hop beats, and jazz. On Ash, their newest album, the sisters blend their Yoruba, French, and Afro-Cuban heritage into a downtempo, reflective opus.

Ibeyi do some really kick-ass work, specifically in terms of genre exploration as well as socially provocative lyrics.

Chants like “Whatever happens, whatever happened / We are deathless / We are deathless,” on “Deathless,” are empowering statements against racial ignorance. Lisa-Kaindé Díaz sings “You’re not clean / You might deal / All the same with that skin / Final looks / With her books / Left for dead in the streets” of the police officer who assumed she was either a drug addict or dealer based on her skin.

“No Man is Big Enough For My Arms” praises confidence and self-assuredness. Dialogue from a Michelle Obama speech interweaves with the twins’ chants; “No Man Is Big Enough For My Arms,” bringing into existence the option for a better world.

It’s a beautiful album. Ash confronts the world. The dissonant harmonies and delicate melodies, carried by a solemn cajón rhythm, make the entire album a poignant charge. Musically, Ash is refreshing, lyrically, it’s exciting.

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