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Interview: Bokani Dyer Plays Across Genres Without Compromise in New Album ‘Kelenosi’

When the lockdown hit in 2020, South African jazz musician Bokani Dyer started making beats by himself and the result is an album made by borrowing from several genres without compromising any. "It's a beat album with piano," he says.

South African pianist and composer Bokani Dyer's latest album, Kelenosi, is anything but cut and dry. Neither straight-ahead jazz nor traditional hip-hop beats, the project is something new made by borrowing from several genres without compromising any.

Kelenosi was performed for the first time at Untitled Basement in Joburg in November 2020. He let the audience in on how the album came about. "At the beginning of 2020," Dyer said, "I was actually working on another album (Radio Sechaba). When lockdown hit, that wasn't possible, I didn't have contact with other musicians, there were no live shows. I was basically left to my own devices, so I started making beats by myself. 'Kelenosi' means 'by myself' [in Setswana]."

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The 20 Best Amapiano Songs of 2020

The 20 best amapiano songs of 2020 from Kabza De Small, Kamo Mphela, Vigro Deep, Rema, DBN Gogo and more.

For two consecutive years, amapiano powerhouse and frontrunner Kabza De Small is the most streamed South African artist on Spotify by South African audiences across all genres. Amapiano's popularity keeps growing, not only in South Africa but in some parts of the continent and the rest of the world. Nigerian artists have been incorporating the genre into their own music.

Read: Kabza De Small is The Most Streamed South African Artist on Spotify in 2020

Not even the pandemic could stall the pace of the movement's growth. The year saw lots of amapiano hits and projects by the likes of Scorpion Kings, Vigro Deep, Busiswa, MFR Souls and many others. The biggest songs in South Africa at the moment are prevalently amapiano.

Below we round up our picks of the best amapiano songs of 2020 listed in no particular order.

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The 10 Best Amapiano Songs of 2019

2019 was the year of the yanos.