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"Amapiano". See the documentary on the rise of a South African musical phenomenon27.11.2019

A new genre of electronic music reigns supreme on the streets of Pretoria and Johannesburg

For the past couple of years, South Africa has been witnessing the rise of amapiano, a new genre that has been playing everywhere: in clubs, restaurants, shopping malls, and taxis. The much-loved genre blends deep house, gospel, jazzy piano sounds, and kwaito—electronic music mixed with indigenous African instruments. Once the preserve of a few niche enthusiasts, amapiano has made it into the mainstream—even drawing the attention of fan-favorites DJ Tira, DJ Maphorisa, and Samthing Soweto. 

“I realized that some amapiano artists play as many as fifteen shows during a single weekend,” said Thabang „Papercutt” Moloko, who decided to produce a documentary on the genre’s meteoric rise. “I started hearing it everywhere. It spread online, but was mostly absent from mainstream radio and television. As my fascination continued to grow, I though to myself ‘Now there’s a story that needs to be bold,’” Moloko added, explaining the reasoning behind his decision to stand behind the camera for the first time. 

Principal photography for the 30-minute-long documentary took place during a summer tour that featured performances from amapiano veterans as well as many newcomers, playing to large crowds. For his documentary, Moloko spoke on camera with leading amapiano artists, including JazziDisciples, MFR Souls, and Mark Khoza. The interviews paint a broad picture of a diverse, intriguing scene, full of passion and heartfelt commitment to music and art.

“We played for free or for six beers. To reach the venue, we usually had to ask someone for a ride and because few people were willing, we often went up on stage late. But we never gave up, because we knew what we wanted to achieve,” said one of the musicians, producer Kabza De Small.

SHAYA! Amapiano Documentary (FULL)
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