Cymande were an eclectic band who released several albums throughout the early seventies.
They arrived in London, England from Guyana and Jamaica and developed a subtle, deep funk style heavily influenced by Calypso rhythms, Jazz, African music, and American Soul.
Cymande can now be seen as one of the most sophisticated of the heavy funk acts that evolved in the early 1970's.
By the mid-seventies the band members were going their separate ways. It wasn't 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 DJ's and funk afficionados.
Perhaps the band's best known recording is the soulful dancefloor groove "Bra", later sampled by the American hip-hop group De La Soul.
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 this unique collection of West Indian musicians. He soon signed the band and recorded their intial single "The Message." The single was released by Janus Records, a division of Chess Records. The track reached number 20 on the US R&B and Pop charts. This set the stage for Cymande's self titled release in 1972.
Cymande traveled to New York after the success of the first LP, 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" which shows Cymande developing their distinctive chilled funk/jazz sound was not released in the USA where Cymande had achieved their initial success. Promised Heights included one of their most cherished tracks, "Brothers on the Slide," along with "The Recluse," the downtempo jazz/funk of "Changes," and the slow funk churner "Promised Heights." The tracks "Brothers on the Slide," and "Bra," also were staples of the new Rare Groove/ Deep House scene which developed in London and New York night clubs during the eighties.
* Ray King - Vocals/Percussion
* Steve Scipio - Bass
* Derek Gibbs - Soprano/Alto
* Pablo Gonsales - Congas
* Joey Dee - Vocals/Percussion
* Peter Serreo - Tenor
* Sam Kelly - Drums
* Mike Rose - Alto/Flute/Bongos
* Patrick Patterson - Guitar
* Jimmy Lindsey - Vocals/ Percussion (Promised Heights LP)
* 1972 - Cymande
* 1973 - Second Time Around
* 1974 - Promised Heights
* 2004 - Renegades of Funk "Best Of Anthology"
* 2007 - Promised Heights "reissue compilation"
In popular culture
* "Bra" is featured on the soundtrack to Spike Lee's 1993 film Crooklyn. "Bra", "Dove", & "The Message" can be heard in his 2002 film 25th Hour.
* "Bra" is sampled by De La Soul in the song "Change in Speak," from 3 Feet High and Rising.
* The instrumental mid-portion of "Bra" was used at both the beginning and ending of John Leguizamo's stage production Sexaholix.
* The Fugees sampled Cymande's "Dove" for the title track of their 1996 second album The Score.
* 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."
* Solo.X sampled "Dove" for the first track on 2007s Limited Edition promotional EP Black September on the song Glass House Theory
* The track "Brothers on the Slide" was featured in the background of the movie Dallas 362.
* British reggae band Aswad covered "The Message" on their 1988 album "Distant Thunder".
* "The Message" was sampled by Ruthless Rap Assassins on their 1990 single "And It Wasn't A Dream"