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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Amapiano (Zulu or Xhosa for "the pianos"[1]) is a subgenre of house music that emerged in South Africa[2] in the mid-2010s. It is a hybrid of deep house, jazz and lounge music characterized by synths and wide percussive basslines.[3]

It is distinguished by high-pitched piano melodies, Kwaito basslines, low tempo 1990s South African house rhythms and percussions from another local subgenre of house known as Tribal house.[4]


Although the genre gained popularity in Katlehong, the township east of Johannesburg, there is a lot of ambiguity and debate concerning its origins, with various accounts of the musical styles in the Johannesburg townships – Soweto, Alexandra, Vosloorus and Katlehong. Because of the genre's similarities with Bacardi, some people assert the genre began in Pretoria.[5][6][7] Various accounts as to who formed the popular genre make it impossible to accurately pinpoint its origins.[8]

An important element of the genre is the use of the "log drum", a wide percussive bassline, whose creation has been attributed to MDU aka TRP. Amapiano pioneer Kabza De Small stated:

I don’t know what happened. I don't know how he figured out the log drum. Amapiano music has always been there, but he’s the one who came up with the log drum sound. These boys like experimenting. They always check out new plug-ins. So when Mdu figured it out, he ran with it.[9]

Artists and DJs

For a list of amapiano producers, vocalists and disc jockeys, see: Amapiano musicians.


In 2019, the genre experienced increased popularity across the African continent with noted increases in digital streams and chart successes in countries far from its South African origin.[10]

In 2021, an awards ceremony was created that was dedicated to the genre, the South African Amapiano Music Awards.[11]

In 2022, the American online music store Beatport added the genre to its platform with its own dedicated charts and playlists.[12]

The genre was popular amongst young people on the platform TikTok, which saw various dance challenges being made, which fueled the dancing scene in South Africa.[13]


  1. ^ "Amapiano - what it's all about?". Retrieved 2021-01-30.
  2. ^ "The Yanos Plug: Amapiano to The World". The Yanos Plug. Retrieved 2021-10-29.
  3. ^ "The 10 Best Amapiano Songs of 2019". OkayAfrica. 2019-12-17. Retrieved 2020-03-29.
  4. ^ Prspct (2018-11-21). "New age house music: the rise of "amapiano"". Retrieved 2019-10-29.
  5. ^ "Amapiano: a township sound with staying power". TimesLIVE. Retrieved 2019-10-29.
  6. ^ Joyce, Liam Karabo (23 October 2019). "Meet the vocalist featured on the biggest amapiano tracks". Independent Online. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  7. ^ "Amapiano a new movement... Period". SowetanLIVE. Retrieved 2019-10-29.
  8. ^ "Charting the Meteoric Rise of South Africa's AmaPiano". Spotify. 2019-10-02. Retrieved 2019-10-29.
  9. ^ "Kabza De Small and MDU aka TRP set to release 50-track album [listen]", retrieved 2022-01-10
  10. ^ Machaieie, Mario (2019-10-21). "2019 The Year Of The Yanos, How Amapiano Blow up". Online Youth Magazine | Retrieved 2019-10-29.
  11. ^ Langa, Phumlani S. "Mzansi's first amapiano awards have social media abuzz". City Press. Retrieved 2023-02-21.
  12. ^ Bain, Katie (2022-05-05). "Beatport Adds South Africa's Amapiano Genre To Its Platform". Billboard. Retrieved 2022-09-02.
  13. ^ Erasmus, Herald (12 February 2022). [sundaytimes/theevolutionofamapiano/ "The evolution of Amapiano"]. sunday {{cite web}}: Check |url= value (help)
This page was last edited on 2 March 2023, at 11:32
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