Amapiano is a subgenre of house music that emerged from South Africa in the 2010s. Combining influences from a multitude of styles such as jazz and lounge music, Amapiano is often characterised by airy synth pads and wide, deep house style percussive bass lines. Amapiano also draws influence from other South African house subgenres such as Kwaito and Bacardi, wherein Amapiano combines its use of slower tempos and intricate percussive rhythms respectively. Kazba De Small is often referred to as a pioneer who brought Amapiano music to a wider, more contemporary audience. As a result, he is regularly referred to as ‘the King of Amapiano’ by fans and casual listeners alike.
Amapiano is an excellent example of music which progresses and evolves gradually to great effect, and this week’s Spotlight is no exception. Kabza De Small slowly introduces subtle new sounds, such as plucked strings and gentle synth pad layers. An intimate vocal enters, singing in Xhosa (an Eastern South African dialect). The lyrics reflect the simple peace and serenity felt in the production of Asibe Happy, as she passionately sings “Let’s be happy, let’s be together” repeatedly.
True to the stylistic pacing of Amapiano, the all-important rhythmic bass drop doesn’t make an appearance until a solid halfway through this peaceful epic. To fans of deep house artists such as Diplo, the deep house bass sound – or as Kabza De Small refers to it, the “log drum” sound – is instantly recognisable. Although, personally, we have to say that we prefer the use of this iconic bass sound at the slower, groovier tempos heard in Amapiano.
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