Afro-Cuban, French twins Lisa-Kaindé and Naomi Díaz, known to the world as Ibeyi, have returned to announce the details of their new album Spell 31, out May 6th on XL Recordings. It’s no coincidence that Ibeyi has returned to a world in need of spiritual healing. After tackling subjects like womanhood, racism, and activism on their 2017 release Ash and familial history, death and origins on their 2015 self-titled release, on Spell 31 the twins set out to remobilize the power of their birth given destiny as Ibeyi, which has led them on a path to restoration in pursuit of true harmony, healing and magic. Featuring 10 new songs, written, produced and recorded by Ibeyi, who worked again with their long-time producer Richard Russell (Ash, Ibeyi), over the course of 2021 in London, Spell 31 features appearances from Jorja Smith, Pa Salieu, BERWYN, Ibeyi’s father and mother and a reimagining of Black Flag’s “Rise Above.” Premiering alongside the album announcement today is a captivating new song and video for lead single “Sister 2 Sister,” directed by Colin Solal Cardo starring Lisa-Kaindé and Naomi Díaz. Inspired by the twins sisterhood and their Latinx roots, this latest song samples Ibeyi’s early single “River” and see’s Lisa-Kaindé and Naomi evoking the chant of “IBEYI.” Watch the video here.
“Ibeyi’s Spell 31 is their boldest offering yet, an antidote to apathy in a divided world,” explains activist and co-founder of the international Black Lives Matter movement Janaya Future Khan in an essay on Spell 31 commissioned after Ibeyi met Khan late last year. They explain further, “Spell 31 casts with conviction, transmuting nihilism into sangoma, binaries into endless dualites, moral austerity into abundance. A subversive and halcyonic manifesto from queens of a sovereign land, Ibeyi occupies the liminal, the space between life and death, past and present, right and wrong, and calls for the interior revelations that create the systemic revolutions we long for.” Read the full essay here.
Last November, Ibeyi shared the first offering from Spell 31, a new single and music video for “Made of Gold,” which features Gambian-British rapper Pa Salieu, who stars alongside Ibeyi and the Ebinum brothers in a symbolic music video conceptualized by Lisa-Kaindé and Naomi and directed by Daniel Sannwald.
Inspired by a poem that Lisa-Kaindé and Naomi came across during the first recording session for the new album, ‘Spell 31,” taken from The Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead, not only reawakened in them the divine powers of Ibeyi, it became the premise for the first song they recorded for the new album (“Made Of Gold”) and the album title:
“Oh you with a spine, who would work your mouth against this Magic of mine
The sky encloses the stars, I enclose Magic
I enclose Magic”
Since the release of their critically-acclaimed sophomore album Ash and the duo’s globally acclaimed, eponymous debut album, Ibeyi’s music has garnered fans and collaborators in some of the most iconic artists of today including Beyoncé, Alvin Ailey, JR, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Prince, Roy Hargrove, Adele, Kamasi Washington, David Byrne and Emicida; a result of Ibeyi’s uniquely, captivating blend of Yoruban music with modern jazz, pop, electronic, soul and hip-hop. Their music and original compositions have been featured in the films ROMA and How to Stop a Recurring Dream, and in campaigns for Chanel, Nike, and Louis Vuitton. Spell 31 will be Ibeyi’s third studio album release, out May 6th on XL Recordings.
Madison McFerrin is an independent singer-songwriter based in Brooklyn, NY. Her critically acclaimed a cappella EP series, Finding Foundations, led Questlove to dub her sound “soul-appella.” After garnering praise as a Pitchfork Rising Artist and making her debut at SXSW, she mesmerized crowds on her debut US and European tours with her powerful one-woman show. Her performance led legendary KCRW DJ Anne Litt to remark, “there’s some sort of joy and beauty in the way that she performs that really drew me in all that much more.” Madison’s You + I EP expanded upon her a cappella sound by pairing her timeless voice with modern production by her brother, Taylor McFerrin. The combination proved effective. The COLORS debut of the lead single “TRY” has racked up over 1M views. And since it’s release in December of 2019, You + I has continued to impress listeners with The FADER noting how Madison’s “warm harmonies feel effortless” and AFROPUNK highlighting how “lush production and instrumentation accompany her angelic voice.” Despite COVID-19’s cancellation of her return to SXSW in 2020, Madison has continued to create during the quarantine. She released timely new music such as “Stay TF Inside,” which was featured on VICE News – Receiver, and debuted her first foray into beatmaking with the We’ll Be Okay Beatpack. Most recently, her newfound production skills were showcased on her viral track, ”GUILTY,” which perfectly captured the mood of joy and relief following the historic verdict in the trial for the murder of George Floyd.