Much like gqom that came before it, amapiano is a South African style of music born from kwaito, which itself has its roots in Afro-pop and the traditional Zulu musical heritage. Amapiano emerged from the townships of South Africa, particularly Pretoria, a small city just outside Johannesburg.


The groove of deep house meets the South African sound of kwaito with the addition of jazz piano and percussion often inspired by Bacardi house.


Amapiano has a slow deep groove, South African-inspired percussion, repetitive, raw vocal style and jazzy samples (from soulful piano to flute).

DJ Maphorisa – “Vula Vala”

Soshanguve, 2018

A throbbing bassline, vocals that call back to the heyday of Gqom, and a tension-inducing flute sample makes “Vula Vala” a very hypnotic and funky track.


MFR Souls – “Love You Tonight”

Johannesburg, 2018

The vocals on “Love you tonight” are close to those found in North American pop music, but the use of basic piano synth and the percussion give the song its own unique sound.

De Mthuda – “Blissful Day”

Soweto, 2018

De Mthuda is one of the more popular DJs producing ampiano and knocks out another great atmospheric track with crisp percussion, driving bass and distinctive flute synth.