Saturday, May 2, 2015

Y is for c(Y)mande & Yahzarah

Cymande Pronounced (see-mandy) is an British funk band that originated in the early 70s. The group was formed by Steve Scipio and Patrick Patterson. They got their name from the Calypso word dove that symbolizes peace and love. The band blends calypso music, jazz, African music, sou and rock to create their sound.
   The band was discovered by an English producer by John Schroeder at a  London club while they practiced. He signed them soon after and they went on to record their first single titled The Message the song made it to the #20 spot on the US Billboard R&B chart leading to the band to release their self-titled debut in 1972. The band toured with Al Green in the US and also played shows with Latin funk band Mandrill.  Although the band had found success they disbanded in 1974 to pursue their own endeavors, however the began to receive more recognition when their music was being sampled by many DJs and funk artist, most notably the American hip hop group De La Soul sampled their hit song "Bra" for a song that would be used for a record by hip hop pioneers Kool Herc and Grandmaster Flash.
    The band reunited several times in the 2000s; the first time saw the band reuniting to perform at the Brighton Festival in 2006. The second time was in 2012 where the band came together to reunite to go on tour and to release an album but unfortunately the band had to cancel their live show due to issues beyond their control nor was the album released. In 2014 founding members of the band reunited to release an album and go on tour in Europe. According to the band's website the band has been working on a new project and is scheduled for release this year.

Yahzarah or Dana Nicole Williams is an American singer- songwriter and music producer who is well versed in a number of music genres namely r &b, soul, and rock. She was born on June 24th, 1980 in Washington D.C. She got her start by recording songs and touring with her band Dirty Soul in 1999. She got her big break though by singing back up for Erykah Badu and appeared in Badu's Bag Lady video (I knew she looked familiar!) She also went on to tour with Erykah Badu and was the opening act for Badu's Mama's Gun Tour.
   Yahzarah started her solo career in 2000 when she was signed by  Keo Music Records and began to record her first album right away. Her first single was released in 2001 titled Feel Me followed by notable singles Love Is You and Natural. She continued releasing music and touring throughout the 200os. In 2009 gaining critical acclaim she had been elected to the Board of Governors for the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences in Washington D.C and was invited to performed at the Invitation of Republic of Italy for the inauguration for President Barack Obama. She has performed with great artist like Stevie Wonder and Anita Baker and has opened shows for acts like the legendary Earth Wind & Fire band, Musiq Soulchild, Rahsaan Patterson and Floetry.


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