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How the world is reinventing South Africa’s hottest music export

Amapiano blends with local music scenes around the world to create a haven for reinterpretation and cultural exchange. Friday Treat, with the help of Spotify, presents a preview of the latest sound, a gift from South Africa to the world.

Spotify is getting closer to Amapiano, the cultural phenomenon that dominates African music globally and continues to gain momentum in Europe, North Africa, the Far East and beyond. The hybrid of house, jazz and lounge music is sweeping the globe and this week takes center stage in Spotify: Music That Moves, a new content series that will tell stories about locally grown music crossing borders and shaping culture around the world.

Amapiano popped up commercially in South Africa in 2019 and quickly captured the imagination in countries as far afield as Japan, France and Morocco and Spotify spoke to some of the artists on the front lines of this dynamic movement about its impact and of his future.

In interviews, South African artists DBN Gogo (featured on Spotify’s Radar Africa playlist of exciting new artists) and Kamo Mphela explain why Amapiano resonates so strongly both at home and beyond. DBN Gogo describes it as a “way of life” and the first black African genre to break through since Afrobeat, while Kamo Mphela describes Amapiano as “a culture…a movement”.

There are plenty of international artists who agree – for example, Japanese dancer FATIMATA who highlighted a gender-induced “feeling of closeness”, and Kinshasa-born French artist Youssoupha, who portrayed Amapiano in his interview as “music without forcing… music that flows by itself”. These comments reflect the relaxed style of music that has touched international audiences, which Youssoupha himself instilled in his latest album Neptune Terminus (Origins), in his trademark style that combines passionate music with lyrics that speak out against racial and social injustice.

Kamo Mphela is also keen to highlight the role of technology in enabling her to be a “boss girl” by enabling the discovery of artists and music through platforms like Spotify, helping to create an open and inclusive movement and a ” safe haven” for women. develop their creativity and art.

The in-depth interviews also offer insight into the future of Amapiano, with key takeaways as follows…

Freedom to reinterpret and reinvent

The versatility and freedom that Amapiano offers as a genre has encouraged the sound to travel, mix and mingle with local scenes around the world.

“It’s an interpretation. That’s what music is about,” said DBN Gogo. “How do you interpret it? How do you see it? How can you add your own touch to it? I don’t think I would be anywhere without collaboration.

Moroccan producer, sound engineer and DJ, Flomine echoed those thoughts saying, “When you mix Amapiano with traditional Moroccan music [gnawa]it connects people and when you introduce live instruments, people love it because it changes the culture.

DJ Mitokon, a member of the Japanese DJ team TYO GQOM, added: “Amapiano will be listened to as [a version of] Amapiano unique to each country I think. [Amapiano artists around the world will] being able to have a closer and deeper relationship with each other…by playing together as equals.

An intercultural exchange born in South Africa

While Nigeria has recently been seen as a hotbed of culture for African music, dominating the continent’s recent musical exports thanks to artists such as Burna Boy, Wizkid, Tems and DaVido, Amapiano is the latest South African genre to put its its artists on the world market. arrange.

Spotify streams outside of Sub-Saharan Africa have grown by more than 563% on the platform over the past two years, supported by major collaborations between artists Amapiano and Gqom and global stars such as Beyoncé, Gorillaz and Jorja Smith . And with more than 920 million global streams from Amapiano to date, it seems likely that streams on the platform will hit 1 billion by July this year.

Social networks and Amapiano: developing the scene through dance

Amapiano’s appeal is rooted in dance and rhythm, and platforms such as TikTok have helped export the movement to millions of people via devices all over the world – as Kamo Mphela puts it: “I I will always see dance as a global language because everyone can relate to it.”

DBN Gogo added: “People don’t [need to] understand the lyrics but there is a dance that goes with it.

Dancers like French Andy Dlamini and Egyptian Yara Saleh have helped propel Amapiano to new heights through social media, reaching a large female audience, as Dlamini explains: “It’s part of my own DNA. I am very aware of my feminine energy…I just realized that there is so much power in my movements as a woman.

Mphela sums up the impact of social media: “I always wanted to explode via social media, and that’s what happened. I blew up via a viral video and built my career off of it. I have global superstars contacting me!

The future of Amapiano?

Amapiano’s global sound has come a long way in a short time but, like Afrobeat before it, it is a movement that is set to grow and grow as more cultures and scenes around the world collaborate and reinterpret the sound to do so. theirs.

As DBN Gogo says, “There’s a new song every day of the week. There’s a new dance, there’s a new artist, there’s a new DJ, there’s a new producer. And with so much creativity and potential for reinvention around the world, for Amapiano, the sky is the limit.


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