A year or two ago, a subgenre of house music called Amapiano also known as Yanos took the South African musical scene by storm. Birthed in the boroughs of Johannesburg and Pretoria, the wave has become the beacon and the new pop music in the Southern African country.
Sonically, it is an oddity that places the fruity elements of a beat — keys, synths and pads — at its core. The bass, likely or definitely lifted from 90s Kwaito, is secondary and gets augmented by kick rolls that come and go.
Quick to identify because of its sui generis features (mix of deep house and Gqom mixed with jazzy and soulful piano), the subgenre has given birth to new stars; the likes of Kabza De Small, KayGee DaKing, Kamo Mphela, Sandy MRD, among others, while mainstream artists like DJ Maphorisa, Samthing Soweto, DJ Tira have also hopped on the Yanos bandwagon.
Since the wave is so booming that it’s a matter of either adapting or getting left behind, the effect of Yanos is not only bound in Mzansi but has been exported in the neighbouring countries, like Zimbabwe and Malawi. Stewie Le Savage — a burgeoning poet and musical artist from Bulawayo — is among many other voices who are catching a transonic ride with the infectious subgenre.
The innocent-faced independent musician recently teamed up with producers Shuza Drums and Tha Dawg for his latest single entitled “The Revelations”. With palpable influences from Zilin-cum-Gnawa — a well-preserved African heritage that combines ritual poetry with traditional music and dance — the song and video is a fusion of Spoken word and Amapiano, and it takes on the preparedness of people for judgement day or literally the day they’ll die.
Clocking in at little over four-minutes, the video was shot in the City of Kings & Queens and directed by Brilliant Delani Dlodlo of Brints online. Clad in spectacular African traditional costumes designed by Mary Accessories and Lorraine Snini Ndlovu, it stars Stewie Le Savage, Mandy Mae, Lisa Chikerema and Kimoe from Dynamics Dance Crew.
Born Stuart Chikuni, Le Savage grew up in an environment where music had a predominant place in his everyday life. Strongly influenced by the likes of Nina Simone, Brenda Fassie, Nana Coyote, Morry Kante, Fela Kuti, Abba, he fell in love with performing at a very young age and also writing poetry, songs and short stories.
Now a fully-fledged artist ready to take off having been in the industry professionally for over two years, he has worked with the likes of Base Wasilewski, Novuyo Seagirl, Qeqeshiwe Mntambo, MJ Sings, Warren Deep and Cosmo Musiique SA.
While he still has a bit of a journey to go in video aesthetics, cultural context and glossing his stories visually, “The Revelations” heralds the star he’s capable of becoming. It has a minimalist concept, but there’s something cool about it. Oh, and the lyrics are absolute fire.
Check out The Revelations video and reflect: