Africa & the DiasporaFeatures

Amapiano: South Africa’s music genre shaping the global music scene

Kamo Mphela: South African dancer and singer

From South, North, East, and West Africa, Amapiano is the new music genre that African music creators are now imitating and adapting to their local music styles. This is the kind of music you can hear in every bar and nightclubs, and everywhere music lovers are moving to its infectious sound.  

Amapiano is not only trending in Africa but is spreading across the globe like wildfire. The new music genre that emerged in Johannesburg townships in 2012 has been crossing South African borders since 2019 while shaping cultures across the world reaching unexpected places.  

In a short period, this unique blend of house, jazz, and lounge have reached fans and inspired artists across France, Morocco, Japan, and beyond according to SpotifyAmapiano streams on the global music platform have been growing more than 563% in the past two years outside of Sub-Saharan Africa with over 920M global all-time streams to date.

Spotify reports that the Amapiano music genre will likely hit 1 billion streams on the platform in July this year.  Artists inside and outside South Africa told Spotify documentary series “Music That Moves” about how the music genre is globally resonating to reach a point where it is being reinterpreted by non-South African music creators. 

Amapiano is described by DBN Gogo, a renowned female music creator from South Africa, as a sound having spiritual vibes and energy that is so South African. The sound has given her the creative freedom to explore the music genre in her way, something that helped her as a musician. 

Amapiano has spread as far as Japan and is gaining popularity among music creators in Asian countries. “When I am making Amapiano music I find myself having a better sense of rhythm”, says Audiot909 an artist from Japan. He sees an increasing interest in the South African music genre among Japanese musicians and is now wondering how they can incorporate the sound into their music.

“I think it is just a small part of the whole African music scene that we can grasp in Japan”, he adds.

Amapiano is rapidly fitting to every global music scene and moment of life. Kamo Mphela argues that for her as a dancer and singer, Amapiano is the kind of music you can create and blow up the next day. “And that can change the whole sound”  the 22-year-old South African dancer emphasises.

The new music genre is without a doubt bringing people together even if they don’t understand the lyrics the same way other gernes of music such as Afrobeat has done before it. Although Amapiano is a relatively a young music genre, it is surprisingly becoming a cultural force in many parts of the world. Amapiano is certainly the kind of music that is set to grow into a global movement as more cultures and scenes across the world are collaborating and reinterpreting the new sound to make it their own.



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