The foundations were laid for Lisbon-based Afro pop/world music ensemble Terrakota on a three-month pilgrimage to West Africa.
Three of the founding members of the group spent time in Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, and the Marble Coast learning how to build and play the raw, traditional instruments that make up the rhythmic foundation of West African music. Upon their return to Lisbon, the musicians continued their work to honor and popularize the intricate, folkloric music they'd fallen in love with during their travels. Combining those musical elements with more familiar styles like flamenco, reggae, and popular Western music, Terrakota created their own African/pan-Caribbean dance party, which they soon shared with audiences throughout their native Portugal. Led by the accomplished Angolese vocalist Romi Anauel, Terrakota composed an extensive original repertoire, featuring lyrics written in Mandingo, English, French, and Arabic. The band's self-titled debut was recorded for the Zona Music label throughout 2002 in Lisbon. Terrakota's sophomore effort, Humus Sapiens, emerged two years later, recorded in African musical legend Youssou N'Dour's studio in Dakar, Senegal. It was this record that offered them a breakthrough into Europe's lively world music market, ripe with performance opportunities throughout Portugal and its neighboring nations. The band celebrated five years of activity with their third original album, Oba Train, released by the Dunya label. ~ Evan C. Gutierrez, Rovi