CYMANDE, 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, the United States as well as Europe and the continent of Africa. The Music of Cymande conveyed a true spirit of togetherness reflected in the band’s emblem which incorporated a dove with the head of a Rastaman symbolizing peace and love.

Cymande was formed in 1971 by Patrick Patterson and Steve Scipio. The core members of the band comprised Patrick Patterson (guitar), Steve Scipio (Bass), Sam Kelly (Drums), Mike Rose (Sax and Flute and percussion), Pablo Gonzales (congas and Bongos) and Derrick Gibbs (alto sax). They were later joined by Ray King(Vocals), Joey Dee (Vocals) and Peter Serreo (sax). The musicians originated from various islands in the Caribbean. Steve Scipio and Patrick Patterson hailed from Guyana as did Joey Dee and Peter Serreo.   Derrick Gibbs, Pablo Gonzales, Sam Kelly, and Mike Rose were from Jamaica. Ray King was from St Vincent.

Discovered during a chance encounter in the basement of a Soho London nightclub by John Schroeder in 1971, the group defined their sound as “NYAH-ROCK” based on the fusion of Rastafarian rhythms with other musical styles. John Schroeder went on to become the band’s producer and with his guidance, Cymande recorded their debut album called simply “Cymande”. During the making of the debut album, Desmond “Kid Narro” Atwell replaced Peter Serreo on tenor sax following his departure from the band. The album was released in the UK on the Alaska Record Label in1972 and later in the same year was released in the USA under Janus Records, a division of Chess Records. From this 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 U.K and U.S. and was listed as no.20 on the U.S. pop charts. The group began touring with the likes of R&B soul music super star, Al Green, across America and later went on to tour with Jerry Butler, Billy Preston, Ramsey Lewis, Edwin Starr, Albert King, KC and the Sunshine Band, Kool and The Gang, and the Latin funk ensemble, Mandrill. Cymande made history by becoming the first British-based band to perform at The Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York and also appeared on an episode of Soul Train. The groups’ debut album became the fastest selling album on the Janus record label. Cymande went on to record two more albums with Producer John Schroeder, “Second Time Round” (1973) and “Promised Heights” (1974). Late in 1974 Jimmy Lindsay replaced Joey Dee on lead vocals when Joey left to pursue a solo career. Cymande stopped performing in 1975.

In 1981 four of the original members (Patrick Patterson, Steve Scipio, Mike Rose and Sam Kelly) returned to the Studio to work on further projects. 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 into the music soundtrack for Spike Lee’s motion picture Crooklyn and “Dove” was featured prominently in Lee’s 25th Hour. In 2006, some of the members of the band reunited during a tribute to “Funk All-Stars” in Brighton (UK).

In 2010 core members (Patrick, Steve, Sam, Mike, Pablo and Derrick) reunited after some 35 years, to reignite the Cymande “flame”. They were joined by Ray Carless (sax), Adrian Reid (keys), Trevor White (vocals) and, to the delight of their fans Worldwide, the band recorded a new album “A Simple Act of Faith” with their original producer, John Schroeder. This has been released on the Cherry Red label. In early 2016, due to health issues, Trevor White stopped performing and lead vocalist, Ray Simpson joined the band. Cymande were very excited to return to The States during June 2016 after a 43-year break. Mike Rose had other commitments and was unable to make the trip so saxophonist, Desmond Atwell (who use to play with Cymande in the ’70s) flew in from Guyana and rejoined the band. The tour was an amazing success and there are many offers in the pipeline for a return during 2018. After the tour in the States, Desmond returned to Guyana and Cymande welcomed trumpeter/flugelhorn player, Kevin Davy to the line-up. Past shows include Nublu Jazz Festival in Brazil, a 3-night residency (sold-out) at Ronnie Scotts, Chill-Out Festival in Istanbul, Secret Solstice Festival in Iceland, Southern Soul Festival in Montenegro, Dimensions Festival in Croatia, The Roundhouse in London, sharing the bill with Tower of Power, Fiesta des Suds in Marseille and Le Bataclan in Paris where Cymande were joined on stage by guest French rapper “M C Solaar”.