Global Music Column – September

Native Soul – Teenage Dreams

House music, and the glorious tension between its on-beat and its syncopated elements, has long been a sound associated with South Africa. From the languorous tempos of sample-heavy kwaito, a subgenre established in post-apartheid townships in Johannesburg, to the Pretorian call-and-response of diBacardi, and the adrenalised polyrhythms of gqom – a raw, bass-heavy recapitulation of kwaito, founded in the early 2010s in Durban – these dance musics have often been a vital means of self-expression for the country’s socially segregated youth.

The most recent mutation in South African house is amapiano. Another dancefloor staple similarly popularised largely via play in local clubs in the Gauteng province, rather than through major label interference, amapiano sits mid-tempo between kwaito and gqom. Its sonic palette is one of minimal percussion and rattling shakers, infectious piano melodies and a tendency towards a dubby, deep house momentum of energy – one that never quite peaks.

Read the review in the Guardian.

[This piece was published on 20/08/21]