|This article relies too much on references to primary sources. (September 2011)|
|Genres||Funk, reggae, soul, African music|
|Years active||1971–74, 2006|
|Associated acts||Al Green, Mandrill|
|Past members||Patrick Patterson
Cymande (See-mandy) are a British funk group that released several albums throughout the early 1970s and have recently reunited in 2014 with a European tour and a new album planned for release in 2015. The group was formed by Steve Scipio and Patrick Patterson in 1971 in London, England, along with musicians from Guyana, Jamaica and Saint Vincent. The name Cymande is derived from a calypso word for dove, symbolizing peace and love.
The group developed a subtle and complex, deep funk style influenced by calypso rhythms, jazz, African music, American soul and UK rock of the time. By the mid-1970s the band members were going their separate ways, and the group disbanded in 1974. It was not until 20 years later that they reaped any financial rewards, as their music became a popular source for samplers. Cymande's original albums are still widely sought-after by DJs and funk aficionados. Perhaps the band's best known recording is the soulful dancefloor filler called "Bra", which was later sampled by the American hip-hop group De La Soul and used as a breakbeat record by Kool Herc and Grandmaster Flash.
Cymande was accidentally discovered by English producer John Schroeder in a Soho, London club where they were rehearsing. He was there to see a rock band but the gig had been cancelled, and he stumbled upon these West Indian musicians. He soon signed the band and recorded their initial single "The Message." The single was released by Janus Records, a division of Chess Records. The track reached #20 on the US Billboard R&B chart. This set the stage for Cymande's self-titled release in 1972.
Cymande traveled to New York after the success of the first album, and began a tour of the US with Al Green. They also shared a few bills with the Latin funk ensemble Mandrill. They played a few important venues, including The Apollo, and played a gig on Soul Train.
The band released three LPs for Janus. However, their final album, Promised Heights, was not released in the US, where Cymande had achieved their initial success. Promised Heights included "Brothers on the Slide", "The Recluse" and "Promised Heights". The tracks "Brothers on the Slide" and "Bra" also were staples of the rare groove scene that developed in London and New York nightclubs during the 1980s.
Sometime in mid-2012, it was announced that the band were to release a new album sometime before the end of the year. The reunion included the original core band members, producer John Schroeder and engineer Alan Florence, with initial rehearsals at Panic rehearsal rooms, recording at Grange Farm Studios, Cambs, in 2012, and a scheduled tour to accompany the album in 2012 - including a date at the London Jazz Festival in November.
However, in October 2012, a message was posted on the Cymande website stating: "Due to circumstances beyond their control, Cymande has had to postpone plans for live shows, including the show scheduled for Fairfield Halls on 18th November, until the New Year. We were looking forward to reuniting with our fans after so many years and are greatly disappointed. However, we look forward to live performances in the New Year. We also hope to have further news regarding the release of our anticipated new album. The recording of that album is now complete and will shortly be mixed in readiness for release. We will continue to post updates on this website.”
Some core members of the band reunited in 2014 to release a new album and begin a European tour, with the first announced date on Thursday, 25 September 2014, at London's Koko.
- Ray King - Vocals/Percussion
- Desmond Atwell - Tenor saxophone
- Steve Scipio - Bass
- Derek Gibbs - Soprano/Alto saxophone
- Pablo Gonsales - Congas/Percussion
- Joey Dee - Vocals/ Percussion
- Peter Serreo - Tenor saxophone
- Sam Kelly - Drums/ Percussion
- Mike Rose - Alto saxophone/ Flute/ Bongos/ Percussion
- Patrick Patterson - Guitars/ Vocals
- Jimmy Lindsay - Vocals/ Percussion (Promised Heights LP)
- George Kelly - Percussion
- Trevor White - Bass/ Percussion/ Vocals
Core members 2014
- Steve Scipio - Bass/ Vocals
- Patrick Patterson - Guitar/ Vocals
- Sam Kelly - Drums
- Mike Rose - Sax/ Flute / Percussion
- Pablo Gonzales - Percussion / Vocals
- Derrick Gibbs - Sax
- 1972 - Cymande
- 1973 - Second Time Round
- 1974 - Promised Heights
- 1981 - Arrival
- 1999 - The Message (compilation)
- 2000 - The Soul of Rasta (compilation)
- 2003 - The Best of Cymande (compilation)
- 2003 - Nyah-Rock (compilation)
- 2004 - Renegades of Funk (best of anthology)
- 2007 - Promised Heights (reissue compilation)
Cymande's music has been used in many notable films, videos, and theater productions:
- "Bra" is featured on the soundtrack to Spike Lee's 1994 film Crooklyn. "Bra," "Dove," and "The Message" can be heard in his 2002 film 25th Hour.
- The instrumental midsection of "Bra" was used at both the beginning and ending of John Leguizamo's stage production Sexaholix.
- The track "Brothers on the Slide" was featured in the background of the movie, Dallas 362.
- "Brothers On The Slide" was used in the 1996 released Girl Skateboards video, "Mouse".
- "Dove" is also used in Lagerfeld Confidential, a documentary on Karl Lagerfeld (produced by VOGUE)
- "Bra" was featured on an episode of the television drama Secret Diary of a Call Girl.
Sampling and covers
- "Bra" is sampled by De La Soul in the song "Change in Speak," from 3 Feet High and Rising.
- "Brothers On The Slide" was sampled by Metal Fingers (an alias of MF Doom / Daniel Dumile) on the track "Cedar", from the album Special Herbs, Vols. 7 & 8.
- The American rapper John Robinson also sampled "Brothers On The Slide" on his song "The Replenish".
- "Dove" was sampled by The Fugees for the title track of their 1996 second album The Score.
- "The Message" was sampled by Ruthless Rap Assassins on their 1990 single "And It Wasn't A Dream"
- British reggae band Aswad covered "The Message" on their 1988 album, Distant Thunder.
- "Fug" is a featured track on the video game Tony Hawk's Proving Ground.
- "Bra" was featured in 's "Free Your Mind" video in Darrell Stanton's part, and "Crawshay" was featured in Habitat's "Mosaic" in Danny Renaud's section.
- The Message was resampled for Masta Ace's "Me & The Biz," notably featured in the video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, and in 1991 on MC Solaar's "Bouge de là."