Explore Issue 01 of LOOP Magazine

Featuring Sam Tompkins and Victor Ray as our cover stars, as well as internal spreads from Girli, Jords, Mysie, Finn Askew, Kara Marni and Master Peace

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The Rise Of Amapiano: Will This Be The Sound Of Summer 2022?

With its roots in South Africa’s Black townships, Amapiano is making its waves into the music scene at the moment. Influenced by the sounds of Afro music, infused heavily with soulful beats and electronic jazz vibes, Amapiano (with a literal translation from Zulu) means “piano”. From its early inception as an underground tune, Amapiano has evolved massively over the years, fusing other types of sound like deep house, kwaito, melodic piano, and even Afro-pop. The creation of Amapiano music from trailblazers like Mfr Souls, Samthing Soweto and Cassper Nyovest is key to its stronghold in the music scene today. The South African style of deep house music thrives on its music pace and tempo. The clear distinct harmony of drum bass, keyboard solos and punctuating electronic beats are what makes the sound so uniquely vibrant.

Amapiano is a genre of music that draws on its South African and Western contemporary influence. Picture a transcendental underground dance floor scene, where the 90s rhythms and percussions are anchored by piano melodies and jazz elements. What a wondrous mix of sounds that would surely bring feets shuffling! While there are still many debates today as to where the genre of Amapiano has stemmed from, the individual South African townships like Soweto, Alexandra and Katlehong are major influences. Chracterised by its distinct smooth jazz baselines and originating from underground pubs and taverns around South Africa, the house music communities have begun to recognize the importance of such a genre today after long decades of it bubbling South Africa. 

With its culturally rich and vibrant audience, South Africa has marked its place on the global map with the sound of Amapiano. In 2019, premium beer brand, Corona, has also taken a step further to prove that breaking stereotypes is a priority on their list. The Amapiano Sunset Tour is one of the lifestyle movement endorsed by the brand to celebrate the sound of the emerging genre. The tour brought together top class Amapiano entertainers and aims to promote living life to the fullest, celebrating growth and the evolution of local cultures. With an eye for inclusivity and diversity, Corona partnered with key names in the scene such as Kabza Da Small, DJ Stokie, and Mbali Sibeko to highlight the individuality and uniqueness of each artists’ signature sounds within the Amapiano space. The tour surely hit all the right notes, whether it be for brand awareness of the product or shedding a light on every growing sound of the local entertainment scene.

Most recently, the discourse of African music has been popular within the industry. The MRC data released its flagship report in January 2022, shedding light on the growing consumption of African music globally. Not only is the population of Africa growing and predicted to reach 1 in 4 of the world’s population by 2050, the culture, economics and perspective of the market will also be crucial to world affairs. Recorded music revenues in the Africa and Middle East region grew by 8.4% in 2020 according to the IFPI, with streaming revenues up by 36.4%. The MRC Data also revealed that “39% of music consumers listen to Afro-Pop or Afro-Beats, with countries like Italy (38%), Germany (34%), France (30%), Colombia (29%) and Mexico (27%) also scoring highly”. These figures only highlight the growing focus on this genre of music that has immense potential to soar further in the coming years. 

 Take a deep dive into our recommended Amapiano tracks and get to know the genre right now:

  1. Mr JazziQ, Kay Invictus, MJ Mellow, Sleazy – Halala ft Mellow and Sleazy
  1. DJ Tarico – Yaba Buluku (Remix) ft Burna Boy
  1. Mfr Souls, Big Zulu – Konka
  1. Busta 929, Mzu M – Mmapula
  1. Samthing Soweto – Akulaleki
  1. Zakes Bantwini, Nomkhosi, Olefied Khetha – Uzalo
  1. Cassper Nyovest, RAYE, Crumz, K1NG – Summer Love
  1. Vigro Deep – Untold Stories
  1. Dwson – Never Give Up On You
  1. Kabza De Small, DJ Maphorisa, Ami Faku – Abalele

Spotlighting one of the most recent Amapiano releases is the single ‘Mali’ by Valee Music, also known as Valerie Menyiwe Sibanda, a London based British Southern African Afropop singer songwriter. She is best known for making music with a blend of Afro-infused melodies and Amapiano sound originating from South Africa. Mali is a beautifully curated Amapiano track, which combines the melodic synergies of beats by Unlimited Soul with Valee Music’s rich deep soprano vocals on a song that tells a story about the pursuit of happiness where one yearns to achieve their ultimate desires. It’s about remaining resolute and determined to achieve your ambitions and desires. Valee channels sounds of Urban Zulu fusing traditional sounds to this Amapiano hit to draw listeners in; evoking them to follow the music and connect with their innermost desires. The synergy of the beat takes the listener on a musical journey to be one with their soul and is an absolutely gorgeous tune to the ears Listen here. 

Moving forward to today, will Amapiano be making its waves to become the sound of summer in 2022? The culture of the country is not only growing at a meteoric speed but with its music influence now taking its spots within many house tracks of today’s dance and electronic genre. It will undoubtedly be exciting to watch and also a movement that South Africa should definitely be proud of. With the past year hitting a low for the country due to the pandemic and new strains of the virus, South Africa can take comfort in knowing that its rich culture is brewing and bears so many grounds for hope in beating a rhythm of positivity in the global dance scene. With that said, we are looking forward to hearing more Amapiano music coming through loud and clear in the mainstream market this year. 

Words by Sheila Lim

Posted On 3 October, 2022