City Nomads Radio: Ohxalá, Portugal

Riding the growing wave of ethnobeats is Ohxalá, the musical project of Luis and Maria. The Portugal-based duo effortlessly combines the familiar rhythmic beats of popular electronic music with unique traditional folk elements to create a musical experience that has quite an otherworldly charm. Hot off the back of their latest EP, Far from Home, Ohxalá isn’t planning on slowing down anytime soon with a fully completed album that is yet to be released and remixes with several acclaimed producers in the works.


Hi Luis and Isaura, thanks for coming on the site! Can you describe your mix for us?

Hi! For this mix, we wanted to do something special so we decided to combine some of our  “hits” with some fresh upcoming releases.

How’d the two of you get started with Ohxalá? What were the challenges when starting out as a duo?

We feel blessed and really lucky because we both love this lifestyle. We both love music, we are both a bit geeky and we both love to travel. We also share a love for art, ancient traditions and instruments and (very important!) we both love to dance.

We love the aesthetic of your cover designs and photos. Where’s the inspiration from?

Nature always plays a big role in all Ohxalá designs but also ancient music and rituals that are somehow related to mother earth.

What do you try to communicate to the audience through your vibe?

Happiness and love.

Your productions are full of ethnic folk elements and the occasional field recordings. Is it difficult integrating them into electronic music?

Sometimes it is very difficult and does not work but we always try to start with these elements that are unique and special and build the electronic parts around them. This allows them to be the centre and the focus of the track. Background field recordings are super important because they help us transport the listener to a different place.

If you could eternally be stuck in one year’s music scene, which year would you choose?

We are positivists by nature and we always believe that what’s coming will be even better. So our answer has to be, next year!

How about one track that never gets old no matter how many times you listen to it?

Björk – It’s Oh So Quiet and Ellen Allien – Elphine.

You two are from Porto. What is one thing that bugs you about the music and DJ scene in Porto?

Not only in Porto but in Portugal in general, people gladly spend money to check some random international DJ instead of supporting their friends or national artists.

What advice would you give to aspiring musicians instead?

Start making music and never stop learning and searching for new techniques. Look for good feedback, listen, absorb, improve. Dance as much as possible.

What can we expect next from Ohxalá?

We just released our first EP of the year Far From Home featuring Sa Barkeh (Shaman Flute) and May Topaz (Timbals and Didjeridoo) both incredible musicians and persons that we met during our tour in Israel last year. A new EP called « Ossos » where we collab with Rui Queirós de Matos aka Spike will be out on Bercana Music from Greece with remixes from Lannka and Valeron. Our first album is also ready and the first single « Campanicas » will be out around May. The full album should be out mid-summer.

Also some special remixes for Barrio Lindo, Nomagik, and for the amazing World Beathoven Project where a bunch of producers put their hands on some cool Beethoven samples.

Follow Ohxala on their official website, Facebook and SoundCloud.

Niharika Murali

If she isn’t neck-deep in a self-imposed existential crisis, you can find Niharika trying to master a new skill – anything from handicrafts to instruments, or simply browsing the internet’s never-ending collection of dog videos.