The Steam Evaporating From Alifchief's “Bumi Africa” Sounds Like a Cut From a Different Era

Alifchief is an innovator at heart; this Uganda based project weaves together visceral guitars with blues reminiscent vibes and borrows inspiration from Afro-music into a humbly warped psychedelic rock odyssey.

"Bumi Afrika," a seasoned intercontinental passage into the soul igniting music of Alifchief. Anchored by a swooning daze inducing vocals from the Brunei-born producer himself, it's his first solo release since releasing an extended play with Eda Brig. Right away, the song imparts an evocative mid-tempo funky sway that induces a potent wave of joy and upliftment. The production mirrors music coming out of the '70s with notable short metallic delays, reoccurring electric guitar motifs, and enduring hymns throughout the jam-based choruses. With saturated guitar breaks, cutting exuberant edge drums, and benevolently strummed electric guitar, Alifchief teases out his soft-spoken vocals, imbuing them with a dreamy enchanting hymn. The song is sung in Malay, which provides a welcome shift into the refreshing deep waters of the chief's Afro inspired catalog; it's like walking into a long-occupied exotic dance bar to hear the mutter and exertions of the band playing in the back room. It provides a sort of charismatic, make-shifting vibe that inspires dance and a sense of elation.

Welcome to BuzzMusic Alifchief! We're absolutely fascinated by your music. Your unique approach to the style of music you compose induces such a warming presence. Can you tell us more about your inspirations behind "Bumi Afrika"? What does the title mean to you?

Thank you, I'm glad that you feel that way about my music. “Bumi Afrika” was inspired by

living in Tanzania and traveling around East Africa in the past three years. I never thought I

would have visit let alone live in Africa. Being able to experience such a beautiful continent

is an honor. The title of the song literally translates from Malay ( my native language) to “Earth Africa” but the vibe I was going for was more akin to Mother Africa as it is the birthplace of humanity. The word “Bumi” has connotations of the soil as being nourishing and fertile.

You've worked with numerous artists in Asia, and in Africa, is there one thing you think attributes to your success as a collaborator? 

The one thing that I hold on to as a collaborator is that whatever you do must serve the collective goal and I think this has contributed towards my success as a collaborator. You have to be able to help the artist achieve want he or she wants musically and be able to get along with them on a personal basis.

Was this something you had to work for in order to develop, or did it come naturally?

This was something that I developed from my university days when I jammed with a diverse range of musicians ranging from metal right up to folk music. Also, I like reading about other musicians who were primarily involved in recording sessions: Nile Rodgers comes into mind as he had worked with a huge range of artists in different genres.

When it comes to your early year and where you grew up, do you believe Brunei played a vital role in the development of your musical tendencies? Why or why not?

Growing up in Brunei played a vital role in my musical tendencies as there were music,

both local and overseas, being played on the radio. Luckily, my dad was into the Beatles and he'd put them on in the car during trips to school. He'd also play stuff by The Scorpions, The Eagles, Santana, and Eric Clapton among others. I grew up listening to a lot of Malay rock from the Eighties, particularly from a Malaysian band called Search who are considered old-time legends now. I was inclined to the genre as it had its own guitar heroes like Kid, Hilary Ang, and many others. Later on, there were local legends like Senjakala in the late 90s/early 2000s who had their songs played on the local radio at the time and this was a big deal for many of us at the time when there were hardly any local metal songs being played.

Thank you, Alifchief! We're very eager to hear about any upcoming plans for you. Are there plans for a release of an extended play or an album of your own?

Thank you for taking the time to interview me. I will launch a crowdfunding campaign to launch my as-yet-untitled debut EP with a tentative release date sometime this September.

To start this off, I have finished work on a single called “Borrowed Time”, featuring Tanzanian musician Msafiri Zawose. I am honored to be able to work with such an esteemed artist who has toured around the world playing his fusion of modern and traditional music (based on the Gogo tribe of Tanzania). The single will be available for listening to Soundcloud this 15th June and will be available to buy and stream online at a later date if I can get enough funds to release this commercially.