South African amapiano ambassadors Major League Djz and Major Lazer are set to release the collaborative album Piano Republik on Friday, March 24th via Mad Decent/Because, it was announced today. Pre-order/pre-add the album HERE.
Out now is the new single “Mamgobhozi,” featuring vocals from the late South African music icon Brenda Fassie. Listen HERE. The track samples 1997’s “Vuli Ndlela,” one of South Africa’s most celebrated hits, marrying Fassie’s classic vocals with amapiano’s signature “log drum” basslines and ethereal melodies.
The first new album release from Major Lazer — the U.S. based trio of Diplo, Walshy Fire and Ape Drums — in three years, Piano Republik also features appearances from Ty Dolla $ign, afrobeats stars Tiwa Savage and Joeboy and South African talent including DJ Maphorisa, Tyla, LuuDaDeejay, Msaki, Gaba Cannal and Russell Zuma. The result is a thrilling and unprecedented international showcase for amapiano, the dance music genre that has exploded out of South Africa’s townships and onto the world stage over the last three years.
A fusion of soulful house music, African rhythms and jazzy piano melodies, the genre is the latest outgrowth of South Africa’s deeply rooted dance music culture. Major League Djz — the South African DJ/producer duo consisting of identical twin brothers Bandile And Banele Mbere — are both pioneers of amapiano and its de facto global ambassadors, having brought global audiences into South Africa’s club scene via their livestreamed Balcony Mix events, which regularly generate millions of views on YouTube.
“The spirit of amapiano is African dance music that brings the world together,” Bandile Mbere told Mixmag in an August 2022 cover story on Major League Djz. “It breeds African soul,” Banele Mbere added. “It’s brought Africa closer together, or brought South Africa closer to the rest of Africa.”
Since the release of their acclaimed 2021 album Outside, Major League Djz have gone on to break the world record for the longest DJ set performed by a duo, performing for 75 hours for a special edition of the Balcony Mix Experience. Counting Tems, Burna Boy, Honey Dijon, Jorja Smith, Rema, Asake, Stefflon Don and Mr Eazi among their steadily growing list of supporters, they made their Coachella debut alongside Black Coffee in 2022, and recently sold out London’s O2 Academy Brixton.
“Mamgobhozi” is the project’s third single, following “Koo Koo Fun” (feat. Tiwa Savage and DJ Maphorisa) and the newly-released “Designer” (feat. Joeboy). The track has a special meaning for Major League Djz, as the opportunity to feature vocals from the late Brenda Fassie on a global release of this magnitude has great significance for South African music.
“Brenda Fassie was not only an icon, but she inspired many black South Africans to be their authentic selves,” Major League Djz said, in a collective statement. “Her music catalog brought joy to the many South Africans that filled stadiums to see her perform and is a true reflection of South African history.”
“‘Vuli Ndlela’ is undoubtedly one of Brenda Fassie’s best bodies of work, holding the title of ‘Song of the Decade’ and a song we heard playing at every South African wedding and home then and now,” they continued. “It embodies the township sound of the late 90s, a true anthem as it celebrates a mother’s joy as her son gets married. Brenda Fassie knew how to narrate the African story, and her music catalog speaks for her long after she has left us, a true force.”
Those attending Miami Music Week next week can look forward to catching Major League Djz with Major Lazer Sound System in a b2b DJ set at Get Lost Miami, happening March 25th at Factory Town in Hialeah.
PIANO REPUBLIK TRACKLISTING
1 Smoking & Drinking feat. Ty Dolla $ign
2 Ke Shy feat. Tyla, LuuDaDeejay
3 Ngibambe feat. Gaba Cannal & Russell Zuma
4 Designer feat. Joeboy
5 Koo Koo Fun feat. Tiwa Savage & DJ Maphorisa
6 Mamgobhozi feat. Brenda Fassie
7 Oh Yeah feat. Ty Dolla $ign
8 Stop & Go feat. Msaki
9 Higher Ground ft. Boniface