Amapiano (Zulu / isiXhosa for “the pianos”.) is a style of house music that emerged in South Africa in 2012. Amapiano is a hybrid of deep house, jazz, and lounge music characterized by synths, airy pads, and wide and percussive basslines.It is distinguished by high-pitched piano melodies, Kwaito basslines, low-tempo 90s South African house rhythms, and percussions from another local subgenre of the house known as Bacardi.
Although the genre gained popularity in Gauteng, there’s a lot of ambiguity concerning its origins, with various accounts of the musical styles in the Johannesburg townships – Soweto, Alexandra, Vosloorus, and Katlehong. Because of the genre’s similarities with Barcadi, some people assert the genre began in Pretoria, and has been an ongoing debate about the origin of Amapiano.
Various accounts as to who formed the popular genre make it impossible to accurately pinpoint its origins.