We take a closer look at the hybrid, afro-house sound that's conquering audiences the world over and highlight some of the events set to take place across the UK this year and into 2022
Last updated: 15th Oct 2021
Born out of the townships of South Africa, Amapiano is the brand new genre blowing up on an international level, conquering huge swathes of audiences as it goes.
Providing a fresh take on dance music, the innovative genre, which when translated from the language of its origin into English simply means 'piano', embraces much more than its label suggests.
A hybrid blend of soulful New York house, jazz and lounge music, characterised by the use of synthesizers, airy pads and percussive beats, its diverse sound - a relatively new one to western culture - speaks to fans of dancehall and afrobeat just as much as it does lovers of deep house. It's naturally laidback and buoyant, and moves at a four-to-the-floor danceable tempo, similar to almost all other disciplines of house music.
Although somewhat contested, the story goes that the emergence of the genre was initially inspired by a lesser-known Zulu keys player almost ten years ago, who is said to have improvised and played along with DJs as they performed at live events. But it wasn't until 2017 that the idea of fusing both elements to create something new came about, eventually becoming popularised by a handful of pioneering South African names - the likes of Jazzi Disciples, Kabza De Small, MFR Souls and producer, Vusi 'Papers 707' Mabuza, who tragically passed away last year.
Fast forward back to the present day and Amapiano is undoubtedly on the cusp of global domination. The scene now boasts a number of internationally renowned champions, the likes of sibling-duo, Major League DJs, Drake collaborator, DJ Maphorisa, and Mandisa Redebe AKA DBN GoGo, all of whom are heading up huge bills at massive events all over the world. It's basically taken over TikTok, with #amapiano gaining over half a billion views, and streams of Amapiano records around the globe continue to rise at an exponential rate, currently up over one-hundred per cent on last year.
Here in the UK especially, Amapiano has found favour with music fans of all creeds. Manchester's Pie Radio - a youth-led station with almost half a million listeners - is one of the many important platforms that have helped to shine a light on the genre, nurturing upcoming British Amapiano acts and throwing Amapiano events.
The station launched two 'Amapiano v Afrobeats' event brands during the last lockdown, broadcasting a live stream of both on YouTube and via Pie Radio. Following the easing of restrictions, the team behind the station immediately sought to create a physical event, welcoming nine-hundred dance music fans to experience Amapiano live at Manchester's BEC arena.
Continuing their cause in bringing the Amapiano sound to the masses, Pie Radio is set to host numerous events over the coming weeks and months. Scroll down to discover which events are happening near you. Tickets and more can also be found below...