Spokes Mashiyane

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With the melodies of his tin whistle, Spokes Mashiyane helped to make kwela the dominant dance music in South Africa during the late '50s and early '60s. Collaborating with electric guitarist and composer…
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With the melodies of his tin whistle, Spokes Mashiyane helped to make kwela the dominant dance music in South Africa during the late '50s and early '60s. Collaborating with electric guitarist and composer Allen Duma Kwela, Mashiyane brought a modern twist to the musical style developed in the laten '40s by Willard Cele. Their earliest success came in 1954 when their singles, "Ace Blues" and "Kwela Spokes," reached the top position on South Africa's music chart. While Kwela went on to focus on jazz, Mashiyane continued to expand on his concept of kwela with his band, the All Star Flutes featuring guitarist West Nkosi. In the late '50s, Mashiyane switched to saxophone and was instrumental in kwela's evolution into township jive.