EXPRESS – The East Bay’s Free Weekly

Barbara Borden


Marin drummer Barbara Borden spent eight years in the all-woman jazz band Alive!, and since then has given percussion concerts and workshops on themes from empowerment to feminism and spirituality, and created a series of drum albums that give “New Age” a good name. Recorded earlier this year in a San Francisco studio, Beauty in the Beat is Borden serving a one-woman drum orchestra, building layers of sound and rhythm with exotic instruments from all around the world, from shekere to sheep toenails and waterphones, to create colorful orchestral effects. The lively opener, “And The Trees,” would make a good workout track, while “timeless” slips into the soft beauty of near-silence with windchimes and bells. One doesn’t so much leave the experience whistling catchy melodies as feeling that a number of strong emotions and thoughts have been activated, as if one could touch a heartbeat. —Larry Kelp