In association with Okayplayer
Cymande emerged as innovators of the funk music scene during early 1970s. Influenced by their Caribbean heritage, Cymande combined reggae and Rastafarian rhythms with rare groove, funk and jazz to create a new and exciting sound. They made history in 1973 by becoming the first British-based band to perform at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York. Cymande’s legacy stands strong – they are one of the most sampled black British bands of all time. Cymande’s music heavily influenced the Rare Groove/Deep House scene of the 1980s and sampling by artists such as De La Soul, Wu-Tang Clan, The Fugees and MC Solaar continues today. Their music also provided the soundtrack for Spike Lee’s 25th Hour and Crooklyn. Cymande founder members, Patrick Patterson and Steve Scipio, reunited in 2011 with original members Sam Kelly, Mike Rose, Pablo Gonzales and Derrick Gibbs to record a new album A Simple Act of Faith under the guidance of their original producer, John Schroeder.
Twin sisters Paris and Amber Strother and musical compadre Anita Bias areKING. In 2011 KING independently released their first EP to much acclaim. Title track “The Story,” “Supernatural,” and “Hey” make up the 3-piece introduction to their carefully crafted dream-soul sound. Hours after the release, their EP had traveled far to music lovers and tastemakers alike, making new fans of many. KING’s eclectic sound is relatable yet not simply defined. Though they play with the boundaries of their many influences, throughout each song is the common thread of a certain soulful authenticity. The smooth vibe, intricate production, and harmonic style of their music evolved beautifully in their home studio, a product solely of the three women and a result of their Minneapolis and Los Angeles roots. Paris produces KING’s songs, while Amber and Anita are the primary singers. The three work together on songwriting and arrangements to create their unique sound, garnering accolades in/on Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, NPR, Billboard,The New York Times, SPIN, The FADER, Vulture, The Guardian and Glamour among others, as well as the 55th GRAMMY award for “Move Love,” their collaboration with Robert Glasper on his Best R&B Album Black Radio. KING released their long-awaited debut album, We Are King, on February 5, 2016 via their independent label, KING Creative.
Deva Mahal is a powerful vocalist and songwriter who is the daughter of legendary blues musician Taj Mahal, with whom she wrote the song “Never Let You Go” on his GRAMMY nominated 2009 album Maestro. She is a member of the acclaimed band Fredericks Brown, the musical collaboration of vocalist Mahal and New Zealand keyboardist Steph Brown.They have become renowned for their energetic live shows, rich harmonies, and beautifully crafted songs. Deva has worked with and performed alongside music makers such as Jaleel Bunton of TV On the Radio, Binky Griptite of Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, The Knocks, the New York Pops Orchestra, Etta James, Martha Reeves, The Roots, Meshell N’degeocello, Cyndi Lauper, Bilal, and many more. She is currently working on a new Afro Futuristic R&B duo project called Skylines with Philly born artist/musician/producer, Mike McFadden and will be releasing a new single with New Zealand based Experimental Soul band Electric Wire Hustle.
New York City-based DJ Parler (par-lé) has rocked audiences and tastemakers across the U.S., South Africa, Germany, Italy, Turkey, Brazil, Mexico and beyond. His eclectic style and ability to move a crowd allows partygoers to experience a musical journey that ranges from Hip Hop, Funk, Soul, Breaks & Rare Grooves, Reggae, Electro, Rock, 80s & 90s, International Sounds and more. Parler is the producer of the acclaimed SAMPLOLOGY Mixtape Series as well as resident DJ of the annual Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival and Donuts Are Forever tribute party. Parler’s work has been featured in such outlets as MTV, Okayplayer, URB, Fader, HipHopDX, 2DopeBoyz, Rap Radar, East Village Radio, and Sirius XM Radio. Highly sought-after, Parler has performed branded events for Nike, Heineken, Foot Locker, Diageo, Uber, Spotify, Sony Music and more. He has also collaborated with Questlove of The Roots, Jazzy Jeff, Just Blaze, Kid Capri, Bobbito Garcia, Clark Kent, Nick Cannon, Q-Tip, Rich Medina, and many accomplished artists and DJs in a variety of radio, event and performance settings.