The word “Piano” is the source of the terms “Amapiano” and “Yanos.” It’s a South African vernacular coined by Amapiano makers and musicians in the country. Classical piano and house music are combined in this genre. It features the Bacardi sound from South Africa, as well as classic Kwaito lyrics and a bass line.
Other African artists, particularly Afrobeats performers, have delved into the country’s rich tradition of house music. In the mid-1990s, a subgenre known as Kwaito evolved, which was born as South Africa celebrated the end of apartheid. This genre set the door for other genres to follow, such as Afro House, which became famous in the 2000s and led to Amapiano’s sublime influence.
The music industry in South Africa has been re-invented time and time again over the years. However, there wasn’t as much signature and influence in the music scene as there is now with Amapiano.
THE AMAPIANO ERA
The Yanos may have been popularized in late 2018 but pioneers such as Junior Taurus, Josiah De Disciple, and Mr JazziQ are the ones who introduced this genre. Amongst other producers, Kabza De Small and DJ Maphorisa can be credited for producing Amapiano songs with vocals. This gave it the spark and influence to become the global trend it is now. There is more to Amapiano though than just the music. It’s the DJs, the vocalists, and their dance moves that spark a contagious vibe.
Take a look at one of South Africa’s most influential DJs – Uncle Waffles. She is a young female DJ that started DJíng a few years ago with not much following. However, it took one moment, a video clip that went viral for her to be noticed by the world. That includes Drake, who watched the viral Instagram video and followed the DJ in 2021. In the video, Uncle Waffles can be seen DJíng with a crowd behind her dancing to “Adiwele” by Young Stunna. The exciting part is the dance moves, her facial expressions, and her hand signs. The moves are what people have come to love about her. As well as how in sync the crowd is in backing up the song. They chant “People are burning” while they hype the DJ’s dance moves. It’s a whole culture, a movement that has changed the lives of so many young creatives and music fanatics. Uncle Waffles has since become a global sensation, booking and selling out stages across the African continent. She will be performing in London at the London Ministry Of Sounds on the 5th of March, 2022.
Some of South Africa’s greatest Amapiano artists that you can stream include, Focalistic who has also done international tours alongside Davido and DBN Gogo as well as, Boohle, Busta 929, Musa Keys, Pabi Cooper, Shasha, Amaroto, and other talented acts.
This is one genre that for the first time, has completely taken over South Africa. It receives 100% airplay and every DJ wants to include it on their set. In the later part of the last year, Amapiano gained popularity in the United States. Major League DJs, for example, have been uploading live balcony mixes on Youtube, which have reappeared and increased viewership. Emerging South African artists who kept the “people burning” with their slick DJing talents are frequently featured in these balcony mixes.
This era is perhaps South Africa’s best era in music. A golden moment where for the first time ever, South Africa has set a trend that the rest of Africa, as well as international countries, now follow! Afrobeats will face heavy competition as summer approaches. Amapiano is addictive in the sense that each song has its own specific flavor and may be combined with other genres of music. It’s not only a breath of fresh air for music fans looking for something new to listen to, but it also makes you want to dance all night.
If you aren’t familiar with it yet, now is the time to get acquainted and prepare for all the grooves that are on the way. The music forecast for Amapiano will be huge. The people are ready to party and Amapiano is here to help!
Written by Kirsten Ford and Namhla Lebona
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