SummaryCymande (Sah-mahn-day) were an eclectic band who released several albums throughout the early 1970s. The group was formed in 1971 in London, England by musicians from Guyana and Jamaica. The name Cymande is derived from a Calypso word for Dove, which symbolizes 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. Cymande can now be seen as one of the most sophisticated of the funk acts that evolved in the early 1970s. 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 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 the godfathers of Hip Hop 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 this unique collection of 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 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.
Arrival was the last album ever made by Cymande and was released in 1981 on Paul Winley Records after having languished in the vaults for years. Heavily funky in an ensemble kind of way, and cut through with the Afro-isms that gave this band their unique sound. A real rarity.