The British-based funk music pioneers emerged as innovators of the funk music scene during the early 1970s. Influenced by their Caribbean heritage, the band combined reggae and Rastafarian rhythms with funk, soul, R&B, jazz and rock to create a new and exciting sound which captivated audiences throughout the United Kingdom, United States, Europe and Africa.
Cymande was formed in 1971 by Patrick Patterson and Steve Scipio. The core members of the band comprised Patrick Patterson (guitar, vocals), Steve Scipio (bass, vocals), Sam Kelly (drums), Mike Rose (sax, flute, percussion), Pablo Gonsales (percussion, vocals) and Derrick Gibbs (alto sax). They were later joined by Ray King and Joey Dee (vocals) as well as Peter Serreo and Desmond Atwell (sax).
In 1971 the group met and began to work with record producer John Schroeder, and with his guidance, Cymande recorded their debut album called simply “Cymande”. The group defined their sound as “NYAH-ROCK” based on the fusion of Rastafarian rhythms with other musical styles, R&B, soul, jazz.
Cymande’s first album was released in the UK on the Alaska Record Label in 1972 and later in the same year, was released in the USA under Janus Records, a division of Chess Records. From that album, the group released two singles “The Message” followed by “Bra”. “The Message” ignited a wave of interest and generated a large following of fans in the UK and the USA and was listed as no.20 on the US pop charts. The group began touring across America with the likes of R&B soul music super star Al Green and later went on to tour with Jerry Butler, Patti La Belle, Billy Preston, Ramsey Lewis, Edwin Starr, Albert King, KC and the Sunshine Band, Kool and The Gang, and the Latin funk ensemble Mandrill.
They made history in 1973 by becoming the first British-based band to perform at the world-renowned Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York. The band’s debut album became the fastest selling album on the Janus record label. Cymande went on to record two further albums with producer John Schroeder, “Second Time Round” (1973) and “Promised Heights” (1974).
Cymande’s legacy is made evident by both the rare groove/deep house scene in the 1980s and the sampling of many of the band’s tracks including the single “Bra” by hip hop music artists in the 1990s. “Bra” was also included in the music soundtrack for Spike Lee’s motion picture “Crooklyn” and "Dove" was featured prominently in Lee’s “25th Hour”.
Cymande’s latest album “A Simple Act of Faith” recorded with their original producer, John Schroeder, was released in November 2015. This capped off a promotional year of festival performances including Mostly Jazz, Funk & Soul, Camp Bestival and Bestival in the UK and a lot of other shows across Europe. Cymande’s eagerly-awaited return to The States materialised in 2016 with a tour of high profile sell-out shows in Los Angeles, San Francisco, SummerStage in New York, Brooklyn, DC Jazz Festival in Washington and Bonnaroo Festival in Tennessee.
Cymande are looking forward to touring again across Europe and the States during 2017.