What is Amapiano?


Amapiano, meaning ‘the pianos’ in Zulu, is a subgenre adapted from House music and has recently catapulted into the West, becoming one of the hottest music playing at all our events! This funky, sexy genre hands you a cocktail of deep House, jazz, and lounge music with a splash of sultry synths, airy pads, and wide percussive basslines. And if you’re wondering where ‘the pianos’ comes into this, Amapiano is uniquely characterised by its distinctive high-pitched piano melodies. 


There’s been a lot of debate regarding the origin of Amapiano, however it’s accepted that popular South African producers like Kabza De Small, MRF Souls, JazziDisciplines & DJ Maphorisa acted as pioneers of this fresh genre, helping to bring about its popularity. 




So, now some brief history about what came before Amapiano....


When the South African Apartheid ended, Kwaito was was created, which is a Johannesbourg-born House sub-genre, with captivating melodies & vocals, percussive loop samples and heavy bass lines. This music was unlike any other variant of House, as it had a melancholic sound, due to South Africa’s deep history, and this was what made it very special. Then came Afro House, with some Kwaito sounds in it, but with deeper, tribal-inspired bass lines. Afro House grew popularity during the early noughties especially, reaching lots of listeners in the Netherlands and the Middle East. And then finally… Amapiano came about! Circa 2019, Amapiano became hot around the whole of Africa, picking up more & more listeners, until it hit Europe - taking the UK by surprise! 





Amapiano events, especially during summer months is always a huge vibe... no matter if its located at a snazzy,  rooftop bar with a relaxed atmosphere or a lively indoor nightclub, as soon as you enter an Amapiano event you’ll feel the music travel straight through you, forcing you to break out in dance!


In 2021, during the puzzling times we all encountered, AMA Fest (now noted as the largest Amapiano Festival) was born and we were all here for it! With their line-up, including Mr. Jazziq, TxC, Cassper Nyovest, DBN GOGO, and many others, it was a day that made musical history, as it brought the UK awarness of South African music! AMA Fest 2022 took place on September 3rd of this year! 


It strives to ‘shed light on the sound of Amapiano, positioning the music genre on a high pedal stool and increasing its outreach to those that love it most.’ (Check out their 2021 Highlights video here.) 



Amapiano events have all in all, taken nightlife to a whole new level, so if you’d like to see all the other various Amapiano events, go ahead & have a browse here. 


DJ Maphorisa recognises Amapiano as a genre that will 'continue to stay authentically South African' – celebrating its mother tongue & rich culture. He says despite the music having little to no English, it has still been embraced thoroughly by so many people across the globe and is great to see! 


It's exciting to witness this genre blossoming, and I think we’re all ready to see it continue to do so!




By Tia Hoggar