Lisa-Kaindé photograph by Lil C
The meme goes that these are “strange, uncertain times” – which is absolutely true, but doesn’t make it less trite to point out.
But at gal-dem, we’re always remembering music is a way to heal, a place to get peace and comfort. And so we figured, why not speak to some of our faves, and find out what they’re listening to lately in these weird, jarring times? And who better to curate our first ‘gal, put your records on’ playlist for us than Lisa-Kaindé from the beguiling sibling duo, Ibeyi.
Taking a break from crafting sublime harmonies with her twin, Lisa-Kaindé put together a playlist of powerful femmes through the generations – think everything from Roberta Flack to Britney and Jhené, and of course Nina Simone (who Lisa-Kaindé describes as her “personal goddess”). We had a quick Facetime to chat about her song choices, what she’s up to in isolation and her tips for practising self-care.
gal-dem: Can you tell us a little bit about the artists you’ve put on your playlist?
Lisa-Kaindé Diaz: They’re women artists that influenced me in some way. I listen to them, whether it’s when I need calmness or when I need guidance. It’s all kinds of music, all from different parts of my life, which is really nice. And there’s some new songs that are just out, and some songs that are very old – new artists and artists everybody knows. They’re all the same in my eyes. There’s no hierarchy just because someone has been around longer, they have all had an impact on me when they arrived in my life – they’ve all impacted who I am, my mood, my days, my life…except Nina Simone – Nina is obviously my goddess. But there’s no hierarchy with the rest.
“Perhaps this is the playlist that you will take an hour to just sit down with yourself and listen to everything”– Lisa-Kaindé
I think there is a tendency to revere old as being better than new when it comes to art, which is not always the case. Or even the idea that some genres are lesser than others.
I think it’s super important we don’t do that – we’ve now just cut everything and kind of compartmentalise everything when it’s all the same thing and it all talks to you in different ways. It all exists because it’s all-important. I love listening to pop music and I love listening to jazz music. It doesn’t matter.
The generation below us seems much less concerned with genres in that way, which is kind of cool to see.
Yes, and I feel like pop is evolving to get richer. And I love that more complicated pop, I think it’s fascinating.
There’s definitely some more of that kind of fascinating new pop on your playlist. When do you think people should be listening to this? Like, when they wake up, or in the evenings when they’re cooking, or…?
I actually feel like it’s the kind of playlist that should be the music of your life you know, like the bande originale – how do you say it? Soundtrack. It could be there when you’re washing dishes, but then you can also sit and meditate listening to it. Or you can actually just sit down with your thoughts and just listen to it – I feel like we are losing that. People don’t really sit and listen to a whole album start to finish. Perhaps this is the playlist that you will take an hour to just sit down with yourself and listen to everything.
How are you spending your isolation time?
I’m listening to a lot of music. I moved into a new house. So I’ve been washing walls and painting them white with my London Mama and listening to Whitney Houston. Literally, this is what I’ve been doing. Because she loves Whitney Houston. So we’ve been listening to Whitney Houston until really late at night and just washing and painting walls.
That sounds very magical and wholesome.
It is so magical. It actually feels like it’s in the walls now – that energy is in the walls. Before I moved in, she told me you’re gonna paint and it’s gonna feel like your place. And actually, she was so right. Doing that work with the music and with her, it really made the place mine. So it’s so nice.
“Experience beauty before going to bed and experience beauty as the first thing you do in the morning”– Lisa-Kaindé
I feel like everyone’s mental health is kind of going through it right now, in this weird time. Do you have any tips on how you practice self-care?
What I’ve been doing that is really useful is, before going to bed, you make a list of things that you are grateful for. Reading something that is beautiful. Before waking up and looking at your phone, reading something that is beautiful. It could be a poem or looking at a book of pictures that you like, or even just looking at some photos that you like. Basically, start your day with something that is beautiful. So that once problems in your day start, once they come, you will have already had an amazing time in your day. You would have already gone through beauty, and then before going to bed, you think of things you’re happy about. Basically, experience beauty before going to bed and experience beauty as the first thing you do in the morning.
You can find the playlist Lisa-Kaindé made on gal-dem’s Spotify: