Barbara Borden

Barbara Borden

Barbara Borden, drummer, performer, composer and teacher, is a veteran of the San Francisco and women’s music scene. 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, Margie Adam, 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.

One of Borden’s greatest accomplishments is being the subject of the documentary film, Barbara Borden: Keeper of the Beat. In this woman’s journey into the heart of drumming, Barbara tells her story in words and music. Showcased is the unfolding of Borden’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 is 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. (

Barbara continues to collaborate 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, Mingtong Gu, Vicki Noble, and Vivienne Verdon-Roe.

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. From 2001 – 2016, Borden also coached the Redwoods Drummers, a group of elders (aged 75 to 102 years old) at the Redwoods Retirement Community in Mill Valley, CA.

Borden’s other projects completed or current are:
She Dares to Drum, Borden’s solo autobiographical “percussion play,” co-created and directed by Naomi Newman (co-founder, A Traveling Jewish Theatre) in 1994. Borden toured and performed the play for 10 years to enthusiastic audiences and critical acclaim.

Barbara is currently part of a poetry, theater music project, World on Fire, with Naomi Newman, Performing Poems and Susanne DiVincenzo, Bass & Cello (formerly with Alive!). This piece tackles the climate crisis and other related issues. In July, 2019, the group was awarded the Kristin Lems Social Change Through Music award by Women in the Arts at the National Women’s Music Festival in Middleton, WI. (

Borden’s newest project is: Breath & Beat: A Love Story, based on the Voice (Breath) and the Drum (Beat). Ms. Borden is developing three components of this piece: a performance piece, an audio recording and a practice she will teach to invigorate, encourage, and sustain individuals, groups, and communities of people to live harmoniously and in rhythm with the earth, each other and ourselves.

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 connection, joy and compassion.

Barbara Borden proudly endorses: Gretsch Drums, Zildjian Cymbals, Vic Firth Drum Sticks.