GETTING IT BACK: THE STORY OF CYMANDE

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Opening in cinemas in the UK & Ireland on 16 February 2024

GETTING IT BACK: THE STORY OF CYMANDE, an award-winning music documentary feature, will be released cinemas in the UK and Ireland on 16 February 2024 by BFI Distribution and on extended run at BFI Southbank. It will be available on BFI Player and released on Blu-ray by the BFI on 26 February.

The debut feature film from British director Tim Mackenzie-Smith, this is a riveting account of what happened to Cymande, a Black British group from the 1970s, who by rights should have become homegrown superstars back then, but whose songs did eventually change music history – and the dancefloor. The film had its world premiere at SXSW followed by its UK premiere at the BFI London Film Festival.

Cymande is a band you may never have heard of, but whose music you will very likely know – and this is their incredible untold story. In early 70s south London, in Balham and Brixton, a group of Black musicians, who came to the UK from the Caribbean as children, part of the Windrush generation, formed Cymande. Led by Patrick Patterson (guitar) and Steve Scipio(bass), they combined jazz, funk, soul and Caribbean grooves to create a new sound; music that was political, spiritual – they were all about peace and love, a dove was their symbol – and ahead of its time. Despite finding success in the USA with their first three brilliant albums and their hit songs BraDove and The Message’, they faced indifference and institutional discrimination at home, became disillusioned and disbanded in 1975. But their music lived on as new generations of DJs and artists, in the UK and the US, in Hip Hop, House, Drum and Bass, R&B and Rare Groove, discovered, sampled and reworked their pioneering sounds and breaks in hits by De La Soul, Wu-Tang Clan, The Fugees, The KLF and more, bringing their music back to dance floors and new audiences. 40 years later the band come back to play together again, to rapturous crowds and critical acclaim.

Illustrated with archival footage, the story of these unsung heroes is told on screen through new interviews with the original band members filmed over two years. There are tributes from musicians and producers who have been influenced and enthralled by their music, including Mark RonsonNorman JayJazzie BCraig CharlesKhruangbinLoyle CarnerDJ Maseo of De La SoulJazzy JMaster AceJim JamesLouie Vega, Peanut Butter Wolf and more.

Cymande will be on tour in support of the film release throughout 2024 in Australia and Europe including UK dates. The band continues to reach new audiences and they are being embraced by yet another breed of fan – the generations who weren’t even born when the band originally split up.

“They were a band for thinkers. Their music isn’t throwaway, it’s thought about, it’schallenging, it confronts you. And it makes you dance.” Norman Jay 

“To me Cymande were the British Earth Wind and Fire, they were the black British supergroup that never happened” Craig Charles 

“Don’t matter how you slice it and dice it they will definitely go down in the hip hop archives as one of the sacred crates. These are songs that upon which, if it wasn’t for songs like these, there would have been no hip hop”Jazzy J 

“I Love Cymande. To have them disappear and suddenly reappear again and we are something of the catalyst for it. That’s beautiful” Prince Paul 

“The arc of history bends to the just’ It’s taken over 40 years, but better late than never.” Mark Ronson 

“The world needs to know this band. They changed music for me, and if you hear themthey’ll change music for you as well. I guarantee it” Wil-Dog Abers 

“Cymande stands right there as the soundtrack to my life” DJ Maseo