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| cultural_origins = Mid-2010s, South Africa

| instruments =

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Amapiano (isiXhosa for "the pianos"[1]) is a style of house music that emerged in South Africa[2] in 2012. It is a hybrid of deep house, jazz and lounge music characterized by synths, airy pads and wide percussive basslines.[3] It is distinguished by high-pitched piano melodies, Kwaito basslines, low tempo 90s South African house rhythms and percussions from another local subgenre of house known as Bacardi.[4]


Although the genre gained popularity in Katlehong, the township east of Johannesburg, there is a lot of ambiguity and debate concerning its origins, with various accounts of the musical styles in the Johannesburg townships - Soweto, Alexandra, Vosloorus and Katlehong. Because of the genre's similarities with Bacardi, some people assert the genre began in Pretoria.[5][6][7] Various accounts as to who formed the popular genre make it impossible to accurately pinpoint its origins.[8]

An important element of the genre is the use of the "log drum", a creation which has been attributed to Mdu aka TRP. Amapiano pioneer Kabza De Small stated:

I don’t know what happened. I don't know how he figured out the log drum. Amapiano music has always been there, but he’s the one who came up with the log drum sound. These boys like experimenting. They always check out new plug-ins. SO when Mdu figured it out, he ran with it.[9]

Artists and DJs[edit]

For a list of amapiano producers, vocalists and disc jockeys, see: Amapiano musicians.


In 2019, the genre experienced increased popularity across the African continent with noted increases in digital streams and chart successes in countries far from its South African origin.[10]

In 2022, the music portal Beatport added "Amapiano" as genre.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Amapiano - what it's all about?". Retrieved 2021-01-30.
  2. ^ "The Yanos Plug: Amapiano to The World". The Yanos Plug. Retrieved 2021-10-29.
  3. ^ "The 10 Best Amapiano Songs of 2019". OkayAfrica. 2019-12-17. Retrieved 2020-03-29.
  4. ^ Prspct (2018-11-21). "New age house music: the rise of "amapiano"". Retrieved 2019-10-29.
  5. ^ "Amapiano: a township sound with staying power". TimesLIVE. Retrieved 2019-10-29.
  6. ^ Joyce, Liam Karabo (23 October 2019). "Meet the vocalist featured on the biggest amapiano tracks". Independent Online. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  7. ^ "Amapiano a new movement... Period". SowetanLIVE. Retrieved 2019-10-29.
  8. ^ "Charting the Meteoric Rise of South Africa's AmaPiano". Spotify. 2019-10-02. Retrieved 2019-10-29.
  9. ^ "Kabza De Small and MDU aka TRP set to release 50-track album [listen]", retrieved 2022-01-10
  10. ^ Machaieie, Mario (2019-10-21). "2019 The Year Of The Yanos, How Amapiano Blow up". Online Youth Magazine | Retrieved 2019-10-29.