“Oxalá” is a Portuguese word, of Arabic origin, venerated in Brazil. It comes from the Arabic expression “inch’allah”, an expression often used in Portuguese (“se Deus quiser”). In Portugal, Oxalá stands for the desire for something to happen. Followers of the Afro-Brazilian religion candomblé know Oxalá or Obatalá as the first orixá (Nigerian yoruba god), creator of the world, men, animals and plants.
“Oxalá”, one word, one expression but a lot of meaning, a place where many cultures collide and intermingle. A word that comes from the Arabs, who were based in Portugal for centuries and left their marks, before it was introduced in Lusophone countries via the trans-atlantic slave trade. These darkest pages of human history somehow intrigue Terrakota, following the ancient trade routes, but turned upside-down, from the New World back to Africa, drinking from the fantastic musical diversity that has been spread around the world through slavery.
For Terrakota, Oxalá, that desire for something to happen, can be understood as a political
statement, a desire for humans to go back to a lifestyle in harmony with the nature that
surrounds us, for a world without borders where cultural encounters are the norm, a No Man’s Land where no man can claim the land is theirs. The critical status of the human societies and the planet serve as a base for a conscious message to which the band will not renounce.
Terrakota’s first albums were inspired by travels to Burkina Faso, Senegal, Mali, Guinea, while also incorporating influences from Latin America. The fourth album is clearly marked by their trip to India. This one is inspired by an internal travel, giving light to Portuguese songs built on top of their Afro-explosive melting pot: Afro-Brazilian rhythms, soukouss, reggae, afrobeat, gnawa, influences from India & beyond.
Africa remains the main source, the starting point from where the band looks for the perfect alchemy to get to their trademark modern roots sound, where all borders, distances and barriers are wiped out.
The band has again invited guests to make the music even richer, special people with whom
the band has a privileged relationship: traditional Alentejo singer Vitorino, Indian singer
Mahesh Vinayakram, French rapper Florian Doucet, beatmaker & producer Beat Laden,
Kumpania Algazarra’s horn section, and backing vocals by the Lisbon-based Selma Uamusse (Mozambique) & Anastácia Carvalho (Angola), without forgetting a brilliant text by the Angolan rapper Luaty Ikonoklasta.
After parting ways with vocalist Romi and two sabbaticals, Terrakota has added fresh blood
with the young and talented singer/multi-instrumentalist Gonçalo Sarmento, the gracious
performer/dancer Diana Rego, as well as new drummer Márcio Pinto and percussionist Paulo das Cavernas. These new elements and the extra years of travelling for the veterans have brought Terrakota to an even more mature sound, concising lyrics and the guts to do some songwriting in addition to their explosive Afro-world sound.