1955 - 1976
Mzuri was one of the major independent labels on the East African record marked from 1955 to ca. 1976.
It was owned by Assanand & Sons Ltd., a record and electronics store in Mombasa with branches in Nairobi, Kampala and Dar es Salaam. The Mzuri label was above all known for its releases of taarab music.
The catalogue also included traditional music and guitar groups singing in Kiswahili, Kikuyu, Kikamba, Luganda, Manyala, Samiya Bugwe, Jaluo [Dholuo], Kisukuma, Taita and Lugisu. It also featured recordings of some of Tanzania’s leading muziki wa dansi bands of the late 1950s and 1960s, including Salum Abdallah & Cuban Marimba Band, Kiko Kids, Kilwa Jazz, Atomic Jazz, Nuta Jazz, Western Jazz Band and Morogoro Jazz.
Mzuri’s producer M. J. Shah had recorded previously for the EMI label Columbia in 1939 and in the early 1950s.
The Mzuri label’s first releases on 78 rpm shellac discs in the AM series came in 1955 and ended with AM 571 in 1962.
Besides the principal AM and HL series the Mzuri label also had two short lived 78 rpm shellac series. The AN series with four releases, two with the African Island Church and two with soundtracks from the film Mlevi, and the T series with some 50 releases. The T series had label information in French and seems primarily to have been aimed at the Congolese market.
The AM shellac series was initially manufactured in W. Germany and after 1956 on the Opel Gramophone Factory in Kampala. Matrix numbers in the latter part of the AM series indicate they were manufactured by Gallo in South Africa.