Getting It Back: The Story of Cymande to be released February 2024

Tim Mackenzie-Smith’s documentary on the 1970s south London soul-funk band will hit cinemas, BFI Player and Blu-ray early next year.

25 October 2023

Getting It Back: The Story of Cymande (2022) © BFI Distribution

Getting It Back: The Story of Cymande, a BFI-distributed award-winning music documentary, will open in cinemas in the UK and Ireland on 16 February 2024.

The debut feature film from British director Tim Mackenzie-Smith, it’s a riveting account of what happened to Cymande, a Black British group from the 1970s, little known back then, but whose songs did eventually change music history – and the dancefloor.

Getting It Back: The Story of Cymande had its world premiere at SXSW last year followed by its UK premiere at the BFI London Film Festival. It will be available digitally on BFI Player and released on Blu-ray by the BFI on 19 February.

Cymande are the greatest band you’ve likely never heard of and this is their incredible untold story. Formed in south London by musicians who came to the UK from the Carribean as part of the Windrush generation and led by Patrick Patterson (guitar) and Steve Scipio (bass), they combined jazz, funk, soul and Caribbean grooves to create a new sound. Their music 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 US with their first three brilliant albums and their hit songs Bra, Dove and The Message, they faced indifference through prejudice at home, became disillusioned and disbanded in 1975. But their music lived on as new generations of 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, taking their beats to new audiences. 

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 Ronson, Norman Jay, Jazzie B, Khruangbin, Loyle Carner, DJ Maseo of De La Soul, Jim James, Louie Vega and more.

Cymande will be on tour in support of the film throughout 2024.  Dates are being announced today for their first ever tour of Australia. More tour announcements for both the UK and Europe are coming soon.

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