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Arusha Jazz Band

Tanzanian band formed in 1970 by Wilson Peter and George Peter Kinyonga, guitar playing brothers who had started their professional career four years earlier as members of Jamhuri Jazz Band. A third brother, William Peter Kinyonga, joined soon afterwards on percussion.

Although the band enjoyed the patronage of Kiimanjaro Textles, a state-run manufacturer that was a leading employee in Arusha, it wasn’t enough for the Kinyonga brothers and the band moved to Mombasa, Kenya, in 1971. the following year they secured a recording contract with Polygram and in 1973 had a string of hits such as Mama Suzie and Eliza Wangu on the Polydor label.

The group underwent a number of line-up changes at this time, adding drummer Rashid Juma from Tanga, Tanzania, and Tom Malanga, a Kenyan from Mombasa, on bass, then recruiting sax player Elias John and rhythm guitarist Omari Shabani from Jamhuri Jazz. In Mombasa, according to Peter Toll, the group operated under two names, Arusha Jazz and Simba Wanyika, displaying banners carrying both when they played. By the time the group switched its base of operations from Mombasa to Nairobi in 1975, it was known exclusively by the latter name.