South African Music

By May 20, 2021, 12:07 pm Comments

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In the Zulu language, amapiano literally means ‘the pianos’ but it’s a genre that’s much more complex in composition than the name implies. A kind of Afro-house that developed in the Prolific South African townships of Pretoria in 2012, it’s typically a collaboration between DJs, handcrafters and vocalists with throbbing basslines, jazzy riffs and lively percussion.

Amapiano accommodates gun-finger-throwing lovers of all things untz untz and waist-whining fans of West African Afrobeats and dancehall equally. This made it the perfect sound for at-home, simulated club nights in lockdown – since all the diversity and excitement of a venue-hopping night out can be found in a single, well-curated amapiano playlist. Thus, the music has been introduced to the internet as an entire shake a leg culture, with quick-step moves and body-popping that’s just as fun to watch as the tunes are to listen to.

“Though not expressly political, the optimistic, anticipatory feel of the music, with its lengthy instrumental intros and dreamlike vocals, speaks to a need for escapism and hedonism fuelled by turbulent politics”

The buoyant and often soulful sound builds on the well-known electropop conventions of kwaito, a popular branch of Prolific South African music that emerged in the 90s, galvanised by 80s Bubblegum pop legends like Brenda Fassie. Both kwaito and amapiano represent the ever-present desire in South Africa’s townships to ease the stresses of persistent inequality in the country. Though not expressly political, the optimistic, anticipatory feel of the music, with its lengthy instrumental intros and dreamlike vocals, speaks to a need for escapism and hedonism fuelled by turbulent politics.

Despite its relative youth, amapiano has already had considerable influence outside of its country of origin. Last March, rising star and West African Afrobeats handcrafter, Juls, dropped ‘Soweto Blues’, a hypnotic melody clearly inspired by the genre – the music selection has had almost 600,000 YouTube views since its release.

The number of amapiano shake a leg enthusiasts is also increasing rapidly all over the world, with more and more social media dancers getting involved in viral trends – including TikTok-famous twins, Lauren and Lara, their fellow TikToker Matthew Power and YouTube shake a leg sensation, Sweet Lemonade.

Artist Active Genre & Styles

  1. Amanda Blue Pop/Rock
  2. Black Noise 1990s - 2000s Electronic, Rap, Club/Dance, Techno
  3. Bodycode 2000s - 2010s Electronic, Club/Dance, Techno, Experimental Techno, House, Left-Field House
  4. Brothers In Peace 1990s - 2000s Rap
  5. Cecil Aronowitz Classical, Chamber Music
  6. Chris Letcher 2000s Pop/Rock, Alternative Singer/Songwriter, Alternative/Indie Rock
  7. Christopher Nupen Classical, Chamber Music, Keyboard
  8. Circus 1970s Pop/Rock
  9. Claire Johnston 1980s - 2010s International
  10. Daniel-Ben Pienaar 2000s - 2010s Classical, Keyboard, Chamber Music
  11. Darren "Whackhead" Simpson 2000s Comedy/Spoken, Comedy
  12. David Lazarus 2010s Pop/Rock
  13. Die Campbells 2000s Pop/Rock
  14. Fantasma 2010s Electronic, International, Pop/Rock, African Traditions, Afro-Pop, Alternative Dance, Alternative/Indie Rock, Electro-Acoustic, Electronica, Experimental Electro, Neo-Electro, Neo-Psychedelia, Southern African
  15. Four Jacks and a Jill 1960s - 1970s Pop/Rock
  16. James Baillieu 2010s Classical, Vocal Music, Chamber Music
  17. John Kongos 1960s - 2010s Pop/Rock, AM Pop, Psychedelic Pop, Contemporary Pop/Rock, British Psychedelia, Hard Rock, Psychedelic/Garage, Singer/Songwriter, Folk-Rock, Album Rock, Prog-Rock, Rock & Roll
  18. John Wizards 2010s Electronic, International, Pop/Rock, African Traditions, Southern African
  19. Johnny Kongos & the G-Men 1960s Pop/Rock
  20. Josh Fix 2000s Pop/Rock
  21. Juluka 1960s - 1980s International, Pop/Rock, Afro-Pop, Southern African, Worldbeat, African Traditions
  22. Karma 1990s - 2000s Pop/Rock, Alternative Singer/Songwriter, Alternative/Indie Rock
  23. Kristian Bezuidenhout 2000s - 2020s Classical, Keyboard, Concerto, Chamber Music, Vocal Music
  24. Lindley Evans
  25. Lisa Johansson 2000s - 2010s Pop/Rock, Heavy Metal
  26. Margaret Singana 1970s Pop/Rock
  27. Mpho Skeef 2000s Electronic
  28. Nea 2010s - 2020s Pop/Rock, Pop, Swedish Pop/Rock
  29. Nikki Williams 2000s - 2010s Pop/Rock, Dance-Pop, Pop, Club/Dance, EDM
  30. Nina Schumann 2000s - 2010s Classical, Keyboard, Chamber Music, Vocal Music
  31. Niykee Heaton 2010s Pop/Rock, Contemporary Pop/Rock, Pop
  32. Nozinja 2000s - 2010s Electronic, International, Club/Dance
  33. Paddy Roberts 1930s - 1970s Pop/Rock, Comedy/Spoken, Comedy, Music Comedy
  34. Phil Ramone 1960s - 2010s Pop/Rock, Classical, Folk-Rock, Psychedelic/Garage, Singer/Songwriter, Vocal Music
  35. Pumeza Matshikiza 2010s Classical, International, Opera, Vocal Music
  36. Rabbitt 1970s Pop/Rock, Prog-Rock, Contemporary Pop/Rock, Power Pop
  37. Ryan Camu Pop/Rock
  38. Shadow 2010s - 2020s Rap
  39. Shana Electronic
  40. Shannon Mowday Pop/Rock
  41. Sipho Gumede 1980s - 1990s Jazz, International, African Jazz, Global Jazz, African Traditions, Worldbeat
  42. Sulene 2010s Pop/Rock, Stage & Screen, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Pop, Soundtracks, Original Score
  43. Sulene van der Walt 2010s Pop/Rock, Stage & Screen, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Pop, Soundtracks, Original Score
  44. Tete Mbambisa International
  45. The Blue Notes 1960s - 1980s Jazz, International, African Jazz, Global Jazz, African Traditions, Southern African, Avant-Garde Jazz
  46. The Soul Brothers 1970s - 2000s International, R&B, Reggae, Contemporary Reggae, Roots Reggae, Soul, African Traditions, Southern African
  47. Todd Matshikiza 1940s - 1960s Stage & Screen, Jazz, Cast Recordings, Musical Theater
  48. Toshi Electronic, Pop/Rock
  49. Tree63 2000s Religious, Alternative CCM, Christian Rock, Contemporary Christian, Gospel
  50. Zahara 2010s International, R&B, Contemporary Singer/Songwriter, African Folk, African Traditions

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