Ibeyi live at SXSW 2015



Ibeyi live at SXSW 2015

Ibeyi was one of the bands I listened to when the first announcements for SXSW 2015 came out in October 2015, and I was immediately fascinated by their story and music on a very personal level. However, the elements of their music, piano, traditional percussion and chants in Yoruba initially felt like too much high concept – until I realized that this is exactly the music the two twin sisters want to make: then everything fell into place and Ibeyi topped my SXSW 2015 Must See list.

We saw two of their four shows in Austin: the first one at the Spotify House was cut short by a long line, and we saw just the final couple of songs. We had more luck at the Central Presbyterian Church the next day: there we could enjoy the entire, albeit shorter set, from the front rows.

On stage, Ibeyi are as intimate as on their album. The two Díaz sisters sit across from each other, Lisa-Kainde behind e-piano and synthesizer and Naomi on a Cajón, a percussion instrument that dubs as a seat, a MPC drum machine in front of her. You could very well imagine, that they arrange the songs together the very same way at home.

Naturally, the show starts like the album with the chant Eleggua. Then Lisa-Kainde politely introduces the band, before they get started with songs like Ghosts, River or Mama Says. For the track Oya, Naomi puts a battery of Batá drums on the back of the stage to work. They end the show teaching the audience some Yoruba and the church is happy to sing along.

I hope I can see them in a more intimate setting again. Shortly after SXSW they played Music Hall of Williamsburg (which I learned too late about) and who knows where they will be when they come to the U.S. again later this year. Here’s hope it’ll be a cool venue!

== All concert photos by glamglare.com – Elke Nominikat and Oliver Bouchard ==