Listeners sometimes marvel at the peaceful, optimistic tone that so often characterizes Township music, born as it was in the apartheid-torn nation of South Africa. Taking its name from the segregated urban areas in which the music evolved, Township's history spans from the jazz-like, pennywhistle- and sax-driven "jive" of the `50s to the pulsing beats, vocal groans, and group harmonies of more recently popular mbaqanga acts such as Mahlathini and the Mahotella Queens. The music has always been open to outside influences -- particularly African-American ones including jazz, soul and Gospel -- and as a result tends to sound somewhat familiar to western listeners. Musicians such as Hugh Masekela and Abdullah Ibrahim (aka Dollar Brand) have gained international acclaim for their synthesis of indigenous melodies with the jazz innovations of Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk and Miles Davis. Americans have looked to South Africa as well -- Paul Simon's 1986 LP Graceland helped introduce the 10-piece vocal group Ladysmith Black Mambazo to a mass audience.