Getting It Back: The Story Of Cymande To Premiere At SXSW

Cymande Also Performing At SXSW On March 18th And March 19th

They’re the greatest band you’ve never heard of. Unsung heroes whose music was political, spiritual, and generations ahead of its time. Their story has never been told, until now…  Cymande, a group of black British musicians, who all came to the UK from the Caribbean as children, released three brilliant albums in quick succession in the early 70s and were embraced in the USA. But in the UK they faced a music business beset by prejudice against homegrown black talent and were largely ignored. They split in 1975. But their music lived on, as successive generations of artists and fans found and embraced their songs. Hip Hop, House, Drum and Bass, R&B, Rare Groove and crate digging communities all saw something in the songs of Cymande that inspired them. And now the band is back. Touring the world and being embraced by yet another breed of fan – the internet generation who weren’t even born when the band split up 40 years ago. 

Now their story is being told on the big screen for the first time, with tributes from a galaxy of musicians and producers influenced and enthralled by their music, including Mark Ronson, Kool DJ Red Alert, DJ Maseo, Jim James, and Louie Vega. Getting It Back: The Story Of Cymande (directed by Tim Mackenzie-Smith) will have its World Premiere screenings at this year’s SXSW Film Festival.  (Dates and times listed below).  The film was produced and edited by Matt Wyllie.  The Executive Producers on the project are John Battsek (Searching for Sugar Man) and Daniel Gordon (The Trials of Oscar Pistorius). 

2022 looks to be a new beginning and rebirth for this legendary band. In addition to the launch of the documentary, the band is working with Partisan Records on plans for a new studio album, as well as special reissues of their back catalog. More info on both coming soon. 

About The Director

Tim Mackenzie-Smith is an award-winning British filmmaker known primarily for sports documentaries, such as Keane & Vieira: Best Of Enemies, The Mavericks, Rooney: The Man Behind The Goals, and The Trilogy: Fury v Wilder. A passionate Cymande fan, he has spent the last five years working on this film and is proud to bring their story to the world.  

Introducing Cymande – The original six members 

PATRICK PATTERSON – Guitarist. Passionate and fiercely intelligent. Grew up in Balham, South London, two doors down from Steve Scipio and they have been best friends ever since. Swapped music for law when the band split. But the love of music never left him and he is hugely aware of the importance of cementing Cymande’s legacy.

STEVE SCIPIO – Founder member with Patrick, Bass player. Moved from Guyana to Balham when he was 12. A man who has created some of the greatest basslines in music history and also went into the legal profession. Steve and Patrick moved to the Caribbean to practice before the call of the music brought them back to the stage.

SAM KELLY – Drums. Moved to Brixton, South London, from Jamaica as a six year old. The man who lives to drum. Drumming saved his life, gave him purpose and helped him make sense of the world. He is as happy playing to five people in a pub as he is playing to 50,000 in a stadium. 

PABLO GONSALES – Percussion. They called him ‘The King’. A little mystic who survived all sorts of health issues to still be performing in his late 70s, and he lived for Cymande. A true hero.

DERRICK GIBBS – Sax. The quiet man of the band. But when he speaks, you listen. He put down his instrument for forty  years and had to re-learn how to play. And now he can’t stop. Sam’s older cousin.

MIKE ‘BAMMI’ ROSE – Sax/Flute. They call him Bammi, and he doesn’t know why. He never stopped playing, he’s still learning. Still trying to play the perfect note, hoping that one day he might do that.


Saturday, March 12th – Alamo LamarAlamo Lamar A – 3:15 PM

Sunday, March 13th – Online Event / Online Screening – 9:00 AM

Thursday, March 17th – ZACH Theatre (Band To Be In Attendance) – 3:30 PM


Friday, March 18th – Lucille – 11 PM

Saturday, March 19th – Sellers.– 1 AM

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