Alifchief is a progressor at his core. This Brunei Musical prophet suits an Afro-tinged jacket over viscerally charging electric guitars with Alt-rock implicative jam sections that borrows inspiration from a clandestine psychedelic-rock ancestry.
He gathers together the impressionistic touchstones of late '60s psychedelia—reminiscent of Early Carlos Santana—and immerses us into a sonic jungle that harbors the sacred fruits of this songwriter's musical labor in the form of "Boda Boda," his latest blood-pumping single.
Through the gallops of a soca beat that sounds garage-like in texture, "Boda Boda" grabs control of your primal urges to dance and sway, the way a blood-lust would. Over a mid-tempo, toppling musicianship displays radiate fervently between a scintillating bassline, rousing saturated guitar, and Alifchief's vocals that permeate through the mix with sonic cohesiveness; rendering up a prismatic echo that sounds like the vocals are being processed through vintage analog gear.
It's an effect that gives the entire production it's nostalgia-inducing warmth. The lyrics are simple enough and don't do much except stimulate our immersion when we can't help but chant, "Boda Boda!" There's no lack of showmanship and jam-session inspired solos, and as we get acquainted with the groove, style, and aesthetics that his band authors, another door opens up.
It is leading us into a show-stopping bass aria. As each section transitions over a hooking riff that seduces, it's easy to recall Santana's performance of "Soul Sacrifice" from Woodstock 1969, where the band flourished from one instrument to the next, repeating their hooking riff before each new sonic explosion.
The whole song plays like a conga-line of new and developing musical silhouettes before all the shades come together and create a crescendo of fiery acoustics that leave an after-glow we can't shake off.
Hello Alifchief and welcome back to BuzzMusic. Where did the inspiration for "Boda Boda" come from both geographically and stylistically, and what does Boda actually mean?
Boda Boda (referring to the word 'border') are bicycle and motorcycle taxis commonly found throughout East Africa; they were originally used to commute between borders, hence the word 'Boda'. Here in Uganda, they are a common form of public transport ideally used to navigate around terrible traffic jams or if you need to get somewhere quick. I used them regularly during my time in Tanzania and also here in Uganda; the experience of being on one can either be exhilarating or scary, depending on the driver! And so, this is the experience that I wanted to convey in the song. Stylistically, the song itself was inspired by Tony Allen, whose drumming style I admire very much.
Who has been your two most significant influence when it comes to your style of playing the guitar, and why?
This is a tough question to answer as I have many favorites on my list with no preference! As for now, these two come into mind: Vieux Farka Touré and Eric Clapton. Eric Clapton has always been a major guitar influence, particularly during my early twenties when I dove deep into his discography with Cream, John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, and Derek and The Dominos. Albums like Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs and Disraeli Gears were particularly influential for me. It was his phrasing and tone in those earlier works which informed my playing and to this day, it is still the case. I got into Vieux Farka Touré through the music of his late father, Ali Farka Touré, the undisputed master of desert blues. Although I appreciate the playing style of Ali, I strongly identified with Vieux's style which is a more modern and refined approach towards the genre while respecting and honoring what had been started by his father.
What have been the most fulfilling moments in your career thus far, and can you attest any of those moments to this song's recording process?
So far, it has been to sign a digital distribution deal with East African Records: it was done on the same day I arrived in Africa four years ago. To be approached by people who are genuinely interested in your vision and wanting to carry it forward made me felt that all the time and effort put into my craft was worth it.
What would you say to someone who is just starting to find their creative intuitions in the form of creating Music, to inspire them to keep progressing despite the struggles the come with finding your own artistic voice?
I would say to just keep going at it even on your worst days; you'll never find your own artistic voice if you don't keep practicing your craft consistently. Also, don't be afraid to show your influences.
What can we expect to see next?
I would like to collaborate more with regional and international artists, and play live shows and festivals within East Africa and beyond when the COVID-19 pandemic eases down.