COVER LOVER: CYMANDE


Illustration: Steve Scipio
Year: 1972

Cymande was a nine-piece nyah-rock band formed in 1971 around bassist Steve Scipio and guitarist Patrick Patterson. Based in London, their sound defined a new blend of soul, funk, Rastafarian rhythms (Nyabinghi), rock and jazz, a mixed genre that the band Osibisa would explore during this same era. The name Cymande is a Calypso-derived word for Dove, symbol of peace and love so brilliantly conveyed by the band's music, and artwork.

Cymande's second album Second Time Round, illustration by Steve Scipio

It seems impossible to find the credits for the illustration on their first, self-titled album Cymande. Even on my vinyl copy. But looking at their second album Second Time Round (1973), the style is definitely recognizable, and the cover illustration is credited to… Steve ScipioCymande's bassist and band founder. The falsely naive style, the peacefulness and plenitude that emanates from his crayons illustrations played a major role in how we perceive their music, even today, and definitely contributed -beyond the band's musical genius- to pin their art to the wall of History.
If you think you never heard their music, it's very likely you did come across it watching some of Spike Lee's movies (Crooklyn, 25th Hour), or sampled in De La Soul's "Change In Speak" and the Fugees' "The Score".

➜ Read band founders Steve Scipio and Patrick Patterson's interview on Rbma.com.
➜ Go like Cymande's official Facebook page.