Apple Music Afrikaans
Afrikaans music is to South Africa as country music is to the States. Drenched in rich, historical hues, it warmly expresses the Afrikaners' cultural identity while celebrating and cementing their roots. Stylized on the third mother tongue of South Africa, Afrikaans, it originated as a blend of Dutch, French, and German folk and American country. Right up until the '30s, the genre was defined by modest concertina-led instrumentation, violins, and a distinct lack of syncopation. Sentimental and saccharine tearjerkers (or “trane trekkers”) unspooled from strings before the style morphed into folk-throttling “boeremusiek.” Brimming with banjo, cello, guitar, and harmonica, it developed into a crunchy concertina-meets-bluegrass soundtrack to folk dancing. Many a local hall, much like Southern barnyards, stirred with the dust clouds of waltzing couples—with Boere-dance predicated on a sound that distinctly contrasts the thumping drums at the heart of traditional African music.
From celebration to confrontation, a new sound emerged from the blizzard of brutality of the ‘80s, in the form of Voëlvry—or "free as a bird." Johannes Kerkorrel led the battalion as they summoned the emotion of bare-boned balladry in countercultural protest to their apartheid government. With anthems coated in the soulful tones of Laurika Rauch, and artists like David Kramer torching stereotypes with his folk tunes, Afrikaans became the nation's sociopolitical mouthpiece. The balladeering pop stars of the ‘90s—Steve Hofmeyr, Kurt Darren, and Patricia Lewis—resurrected the boere-dance and replaced banjos with radio-friendly Euro-dance beats that were as kitschy as they were catchy, but perfectly shaped for the mainstream. For decades after democracy, alternative musicians salvaged the pride of a culture now freed from apartheid. The Karen Zoid generation of Afrikaans rock birthed its first commercially lauded punk band, Fokofpolisiekar, spearheaded by South Africa’s Sex Pistols–meets–Lennon firebrand Francois van Coke. By the 21st century, newer zef-rap pioneers like Jack Parow and Die Antwoord grilled their hustler histrionics over hot coals of scorching beats and lyrical playfulness. These Afrikaans rock, pop, and rap artists each contribute their vital voices to South Africa’s cultural landscape.