Video Savant: Cymande's “Bra”

Categories: Video Savant

Sticking with the summer-song theme from last week's Video Savant on Ween's “Push th' Little Daisies,” let's examine the gloriously snappy “Bra” by Cymande. Sampled to devastating effect by De La Soul on 3 Feet High and Rising's “Change in Speak” and used on the soundtracks to Spike Lee's Crooklyn and 25th Hour, this hugely uplifting track from Cymande's self-titled 1972 LP is one of the greatest examples of Caribbean-flavored funk on record. (Cymande's members hailed from Jamaica and Guyana, although they were based in London during their early-'70s heyday.)

De La Soul producer Prince Paul looped the springy bass figure, sprung bongo/conga slaps, flute curlicue and triumphant brass motif for “Change in Speak,” but the vocal refrain, “But it's all right!/We can still go on!” and the bass/cowbell breakdown 3/5 of the way in also merit repeated listens and sampling (make sure you get permission for the latter, hustla). Ultimately, though, “Bra” is world-class, outdoor-party music, ideal for singing along to its hopeful lyrics and shaking your rump to its humid, intoxicating polyrhythms.

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