Barbara Borden

Barbara Borden

Barbara Borden, drummer, performer, composer and teacher, is a veteran of the San Francisco and women’s music scene. One of her greatest accomplishments is being the subject of the documentary film, Keeper of the Beat: A Woman’s Journey Into the Heart of Drumming. This hour-long film in which Barbara Borden tells her story in words and music, showcases the unfolding of Barbara’s identity as she grows from a little girl in love with drumming to a first-class percussionist who travels the world using music to strengthen and enliven the heartbeat of humanity. Filmed on four continents, the movie was produced and directed by three-time Emmy Award-winner, David L. Brown. It received the Runner Up Audience Award for the Best Documentary at its world premiere in the 2013 Mill Valley Film Festival. (

Borden has drummed and recorded with a variety of bands and musicians including: Alive! – an all-women jazz quintet (8 years, 3 albums), Terry Garthwaite, Nicholas, Glover & Wray, Rhiannon, Suru Eke, Jennifer Berezan, Arthur Hull, Linda Tillery, Babatunde Olatunje, The Women’s Philharmonic, Mimi Fox, Frank Martin, and The Borden Twins (her sisters). In 1989, Barbara Borden and Sheilah Glover formed Cloud 9 Music, producing five albums over seven years: Lady of the Serpent Skirt and Portraits of Passion (Borden and Glover); Power of the Soul (Glover); Beauty in the Beat and All Hearts Beating (Borden). Visit our Store to see more.

Barbara thrives on collaborations with artists and healers in a variety of disciplines (dancers, writers, poets, improv artists, storytellers and actors). They include: Anna Halprin, Arisika Razak, Nina Wise, Naomi Newman, Christina Baldwin, Ann Linnea, Laura Simms, Kim Rosen, Ruth Zaporah, China Galland, Deena Metzger and Rachel Bagby, Mingtong Gu, Vicki Noble and Vivienne Verdon-Roe.

She Dares to Drum, Borden’s solo autobiographical “percussion play,” was co-created and directed by Naomi Newman (co-founder, Traveling Jewish Theatre). Borden toured and performed the play for 10 years to enthusiastic audiences and critical acclaim.

Barbara enjoys teaching and mentoring. She facilitates drum circles and councils, workshops/clinics, retreats around the country; teaches private and group lessons in drumkit, West African djembe and ceremonial drumming in Marin County, CA. For the past 17 years, Borden has coached the Redwoods Drummers, a group of elders (aged 75 to 102 years old) at the Redwoods Retirement Community in Mill Valley, CA.

Barbara continues to be deeply moved by the positive and joyous response to drumming and music and its ability to bring people together to share greater understanding, joy and compassion.