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Amapiano: A South African Music Sensation Taking The World By Storm

Courtesy of South Africa Tourism (at Afro Nation Miami)

Miami, May 26, 2023 - The distinctive sound of the log drum permeated the air as several musicians, producers and industry experts gathered in Miami to celebrate the burgeoning genre of Amapiano. With a sound best described as a hybrid of deep house and jazz with percussive loops reminiscent of lounge music coupled with soulful vocals, Amapiano is arguably South Africa’s hottest new export and its infectious sound continues to attract new audiences as the genre spreads like wildfire. South African Tourism presented an industry-focused panel discussion in collaboration with Maphike Attorneys Inc., providing an opportunity for creators of this musical style to speak about the cultural impact of Amapiano and discuss the genre’s future as it continues to gain popularity worldwide.

At the Afro Nation Miami


Taking place on the eve of the inaugural Afro Nation Miami, which boasts an Amapiano stage, the panel discussion included artists Pabi Cooper and DJ AYA who were joined by several industry executives including: Yoel Kenan, CEO of Africori, Devon Peterson, Creative Director of Africori, Manaileng Maphike, Attorney at Maphike Attorneys Inc. and Jerry Mpufane, President of South African Tourism North America. The discussion was moderated by Yolanda Sangweni, Vice President of Programming and New Content Development at NPR with opening remarks by Justin Barnette, Head of Marketing and Communications of South African Tourism North America. The conversation dove into a wide range of topics including the cultural significance of this new music genre, the impact of its growing popularity worldwide, and the spotlight it has cast on South Africa and its people, fueling industries such as tourism in growing source markets.


“As Amapiano makes its way around the world it’s another way in which South Africa’s history and culture demonstrates its global influence,” said Jerry Mpufane, President of South African Tourism North America.

“Amapiano is born out of the soul of South Africa and they say one of the best ways to experience it to its fullest is to be where the music is. So as this genre continues to captivate global audiences, we hope it inspires them to visit South Africa and learn about the history and culture that influenced the creation of Amapiano.”




Below, we'll explore what makes Amapiano so special, how to get started with your own Amapiano dance moves, and how it's influencing global music trends. So strap on your dancing shoes - it's time to get your groove on!

Courtesy of South Africa Tourism


South African Tourism is the national agency responsible for marketing South Africa as a preferred leisure and business events destination. From breathtaking beauty and sun-soaked coasts to wildlife and adventure to vibrant urban energy and the incredible warmth and cultural diversity of its people – South Africa is a traveler’s dream! Destination South Africa offers a wide variety of experiences including safaris in 19 national parks, breathtaking diverse scenic outdoor spaces, vibrant modern designer cities, an amazing 2,500-kilometer coastline with Blue Flag beaches, inspiring heritage and cultural journeys as well as active adventure experiences and vacation offering impressive value for time and money at any budget.


What is Amapiano and why is it so popular

Amapiano is a relatively new genre of electronic dance music originating in South Africa. It is characterized by its bouncy, minimalistic sound and its heavy reliance on synthesizers and samples. It combines elements from House, Jazz, Kwaito, and Hip-Hop to create an entirely unique style of music that has quickly become popular with African youth all across the continent.

The genre was first developed in 2014 by a group of producers known as Major League DJz, who fused together jazz chords with house beats to create a unique sound they called “Amapiano” (a combination of the words “Ama” meaning “now” and “piano”). Since then, it has grown in popularity at breakneck speed both within South Africa and beyond its borders. Its appeal lies in its upbeat tempo, melodic nature, and ability to make listeners want to move their feet.

Amapiano utilizes elements from various genres including House Music which provides the 4/4 beat backbone; Jazz which brings harmonic progressions along with complex musical structures; Kwaito which adds fun vocal lines; and Hip-Hop for attitude-filled raps or spoken word sections - creating an entirely new sound that stands out among other genres of African Dance Music.

At the center of this fusion lies the piano motifs - often jazzy chord progressions played over danceable rhythms - giving rise to what is now referred to as Amapiano Music or more simply put: 'Piano Music'. This signature sound has caught the attention of many people around the world due to its infectious energy coupled with smooth melodies that provide a perfect backdrop for any event or occasion where people just want have fun!

Amapiano's impact on African music and global trends

Since its emergence in South Africa’s Gauteng province, Amapiano has quickly become a popular genre of music and dance style that is capturing the attention of people all over the African continent. This new sound, which blends traditional house, jazz, and kwaito elements into an unmistakable rhythm and beat, has taken off in both urban and rural settings as it continues to spread throughout South Africa. As more people are exposed to this vibrant sound and accompanying dance moves, there is no doubt that it is becoming increasingly popular with audiences from across the continent.

The influence of Amapiano on other African countries can be seen through its growing presence in places like Kenya, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Botswana, Zambia and beyond. For example, Kenyan artist Ethic recently released an album titled "Lamba Lolo" featuring a range of Amapiano-influenced sounds that have been embraced by his fans throughout East Africa. In Zimbabwe too there has been a surge in local artists creating their own takes on Amapiano beats which have gained traction with young audiences looking for something fresh and exciting to listen to.

This demonstrates how far reaching this musical movement has become as well as how it transcends borders when merging different cultures together through artistry .

Furthermore , many social media platforms have helped amplify awareness for this particular style through challenges such as #Amapianochallenge which encourages users from all over the globe to participate in showcasing their own interpretations of what they believe makes up authentic amapiano dancing along with some creative choreography thrown into the mix . All these factors contribute towards making this genre very much visible outside of its original South African roots while inspiring others out there who may not be familiar yet but want get involved .





In conclusion, Amapiano is a revolutionary African dance sensation that has taken the world by storm. It has become one of the most popular music genres in South Africa and beyond due to its unique blend of house, jazz, and kwaito. With easy-to-learn basic moves for beginners and more advanced routines for experienced dancers, anyone can get their groove on with Amapiano. Moreover, this genre is having a major impact on African music as well as global trends in music and dance culture.

It's clear that Amapiano is here to stay. So if you want to experience the joys of this exciting new genre firsthand, now’s the time! Get your groove on with Amapiano today!


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