The Puerto Rican band ÌFÉ released a new song and video today, titled "The Tearer (Bembe)." The song’s lyrics are about the ways that identity coalesces nowadays—and how it will be when those markers are someday washed away. And the video pulls from the old X-Men cartoon.
Superhero metaphors don’t get much more straightforward than the X-Men: the mutants are an oppressed minority living in a world that villainizes and fears them. “[T]he heroes of this world represent the best of our moral character, struggling for the good and just treatment of all forms of life,” ÌFÉ founder Otura Mun says.
The video narrows in on one of the X-Men in particular.
“The Uncanny X-Men was my favorite monthly comic book as a young reader, and Storm was probably the first black superhero that I was exposed to.” Mun explained and made an interesting connection. “Storm's character aligns quite closely with the attributes of the Yoruban orisha [and goddess of storms] Oyá."
ÌFÉ’s music sort of facilitates an on-going conversation between modern hip-hop-inflected electronic music and Yoruba sacred music. It’s cool to see them extend that thinking to elsewhere in pop culture.
The tune is a very smooth groove, and it'll be cool to see what else the band has been working on when they play right before Seun Kuti at Winter Jazz Fest at the Bowery Ballroom on Jan. 11.