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OriginLondon, England
GenresFunk, reggae, soul, African music
Years active1971–74, 2006, 2012, 2014–present
LabelsJanus Records, Cherry Red Records
Associated actsAl Green, Mandrill,
Past membersPatrick Patterson
Steve Scipio
Sam Kelly
Pablo Gonsales
Michael Rose
Derrick Gibbs
Peter Serreo
Ray King
Joey Dee
Jimmy Lindsay
George Kelly
Trevor White
Desmond Atwell
Adrian Reid
Ray Carless

Cymande (See-man-day) were a British funk group that released several albums in the early 1970s and reunited in 2014 with a European tour and a new album released in 2015. The group were 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, symbolising peace and love.


The group developed a subtle and complex, deep funk style influenced by calypso rhythms, jazz, African music, American soul, and funk, and early UK progressive rock of the time.

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".

By the mid-1970s the band members were going their separate ways, and the group disbanded in 1974. The tracks "Brothers on the Slide" and "Bra" became staples of the rare groove scene that developed in London and New York nightclubs during the 1980s. It was not until the 1990s 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.

2012 reunion[edit]

In mid-2012, it was announced that the band was 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.[1]

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."[2]

2014 reunion[edit]

Six core members of the band reunited in 2014 in advance of the new album and begin a European tour, with the first announced date on Thursday, 25 September 2014, at London's Koko.[3]

The core members were joined by Ray Carless - Saxophones, Adrian Reid - Keyboards, and original member Trevor White - Vocals for this tour which included the UK, France, Belgium, and Germany.

In 2016 a new tour was announced which included a long-awaited return to the USA covering venues in LA, San Francisco, New York, Washington, and the Bonnaroo Festival in Tennessee. Trevor and Mike were unable to partake in the tour due to personal reasons but vocalist Ray Simpson joined the band on Lead Vocals and saxophonist Desmond Atwell, one of the original members of the band, came back in to tour with them. [1] [4]

For the 2017 tour trumpet and flugelhorn player Kevin Davy was brought in in place of Desmond to complete the brass section. The tour covered Brazil, Turkey, Iceland, Montenegro, Croatia, France, and UK. In April 2017 this included three nights headlining at Ronnie Scott's in London.

Original members[edit]

  • 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[edit]

  • Steve Scipio - Bass/ Vocals
  • Derrick Gibbs - Sax
  • Pablo Gonzales - Percussion / Vocals
  • Sam Kelly - Drums
  • Mike Rose - Sax/ Flute / Percussion
  • Patrick Patterson - Guitar/ Vocals


  • 1972 - Cymande
  • 1973 - Second Time Round
  • 1974 - Promised Heights
  • 1981 - Arrival
  • 1991 - The Best Of Cymande (compilation)
  • 1999 - The Message (compilation)
  • 2000 - The Soul of Rasta (compilation)
  • 2003 - Nyah-Rock (compilation)
  • 2004 - Renegades of Funk (compilation)
  • 2007 - Promised Heights (compilation)
  • 2015 - A Simple Act of Faith

Notable usage

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.
  • "Getting it Back" was featured in episode 9 of season 2 of the television series Fargo.
  • "Dove" was featured in episode 8 (eps2.6_succ3ss0r.p12) of season 2 of the television series Mr. Robot.
  • "Brothers On the Slide" is featured in The Defenders episode "Mean Right Hook".

Sampling and covers

In all Cymande's songs have been sampled or sections of music re-played on at least 80 commercial releases, possibly more.[5]


  • "Fug" is a featured track on the video game Tony Hawk's Proving Ground.
  • "Bra" was featured in Transworld Skateboarding'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.


  1. ^ "Cymande Reunites". Archived 2012-02-21 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "Cancellation Notice". Archived 2013-10-25 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "CYMANDE + Push + DJ Perry Louis", Adrian Gibson Music Productions.
  4. ^ "The official Cymande website", Cymande.
  5. ^ [1]]

External links[edit]