Goodbye Lisa Forman, I will miss you my friend.

Farewell sweet Lisa, I will miss you my friend.
Lisa Forman -12/8/64~7/7/2011
This is a very sad post for me to write. My dear sweet friend Lisa Forman has passed. Sadly, she took her own life on the Golden Gate Bridge. I miss her terribly and I can't stop the tears whenever I happen to think of her.
Lisa Forman was a wonderful person and a skilled and talented drummer. She began drumming in the drum circle in Golden Gate Park. She moved on to West African styles, learning the rhythms and studying their history and origins. She was very knowledgeable about the African styles and could discuss them intelligently at lengths. She owned a gorgeous set of dun dun drums and had the most beautiful djembe drum I had ever seen.

Lisa Forman was also an Afro-Cuban stylist. She studied with Carlos Aldama at his class in the Mission here in San Francisco. She attended the Afro-Cuban camp at Humboldt State University and she was a student at Sandy Perez's class at La Pena in Berkeley. Here is a transcription she passed on to me from a class at the Humboldt University camp. I am passing it on here in her name.
Lisa Forman was a huge influence on my percussion life here in San Francisco. She introduced me to Carlos Aldama's class where I met the local rumberos and she took me to Radio Havana for the rumba there. She was very supportive of me and proud of my progress as a musician and percussionist.

I remember running all over the Bay Area with Lisa Forman. We would go to rumbas together, Sandy Perez's class together, we often watched shows together, she knew all the hippest groups. She and I would meet up and study drums in the park, I remember one particularly beautiful session in the Golden Gate Park Panhandle where we studied guarapachangeo together each of us playing a drum and sharing a third. When I held a study session at my house she was always there, she used to live just 6 blocks from me at my old apartment in the Haight. Lisa Forman could play any part on any drum for any rhythm. Here is a shot of her and I at a study session in my old apartment.
And another of Lisa Forman and I at a percussion recital with Sandy Perez's class at La Pena.

 Lisa Forman was also an activist and a contributing community member here in San Francisco. Here is a shot of her at a protest against the eviction of a local latin music club she frequented called Jelly's.
Lisa Forman believed in the healing power of drums and music. She studied at a natural healing college here in San Francisco and became a certified sound healer with the didjeridoo, another instrument she played. I remember fixing a crack on that didjeridoo for her at my house. I could never accept money for a service like that for a friend, but she insisted on buying me a burrito. I was happy to have been able to do that for her.

I also reskinned one of her drums. One of the most beautiful vintage Gon Bop quintos you have ever seen or heard. She played it beautifully as well. Lisa's small feminine hands had such a nice touch; never playing too loud, always just right. I wonder who is playing this drum now? I hope it is one of Lisa's friends. I hope I get a chance to hear it's voice again.
 I remember I also got her a gourd and beads for a shekere and taught her how to tie the strings for the net. I wonder if she ever finished it? A while back Lisa Forman and I attended a class together where we learned shekere parts for guiro with Sandy Perez. It was a small class, 4 students total. I'm playing the caja drum and I think Lisa is playing the small shekere part in this recording from that class.

I also recorded another project with Lisa Forman, I posted a track before, I call it the Afro Blue Project. The earlier post was just flute and drums, but I recorded other versions with Lisa Forman backing us up with her didjeridoo, Oliver Hunt on flute with myself on congas. Just a simple recording with some friends on a sunny afternoon at my friend Oliver Hunt's house by the beach. Such a happy time for us, I never thought listening to it would ever make me cry.

Lisa Forman was happy with it too. This is what she wrote me when I sent them to her:
I love them. They sound so good and it is impressive that we all only did a couple of takes.


Love ya lisa

The last I saw Lisa Forman was at my birthday party last March, she came a little late and took a turn on a drum, quinto I believe. I hadn't seen her in a little while and it was good to see her and listen to her play. I'm glad that is my last memory of her; playing music at my home in honor of my birth.

There is an obituary page for Lisa Forman where you can leave your respects for her.

There is a memorial service for Lisa Forman at Sharon Meadows in Golden Gate Park, Sunday July 24th at 1:00 P.M. Sharon Meadows is just in front of Hippy Hill where the drum circle happens. If you were a friend of Lisa Forman please come by and remember her. And bring a drum!
Goodbye Lisa, I will never forget you.
Your friend always, Geordie Dylan Van Der Bosch.


John Santos: El Son Afro-Cubano - SFJAZZ Discover Jazz Course

Well looks like John Santos is at it again, I can hardly wait! A while back I took another one of his classes about rumba "La Rumba No Es Como Ayer" and it was fantastic. This lecture series is also put on by my cities very own SF Jazz as part of it's Discover Jazz  series.

Anyways the topic of John Santos' lecture this year is the Cuban son and is titled "El Son Afro-Cubano"

Here is a copy/paste of the syllabus:

Discover Jazz Course 1

El Son Afro-Cubano

Co-presented with Yerba Buena Gardens Festival & Museum of the African Diaspora

Taught by five-time Grammy-nominated producer and historian John Santos, El Son Afro-Cubano is an eight-part series that delves into the origins, evolution, and relevance of the Cuban Son, one of the most important and influential musical/dance genres in the history of the Americas. The Son is the quintessential melding of Africa and Spain, with a tumultuous history and unparalleled role in the development of contemporary Latin American music. The classes will include listening, viewing video footage, discussion, and Q&A. This Discover Jazz course may be enjoyed as a series or individually.
Wednesday, Aug 3, 7:00PMMuseum of the African Diaspora
The clash of cultures that distinguishes the Cuban Son also unites the Americas through the common denominator of working class dance music. Its complex evolution originates with raw simplicity and has been a unique conduit for countless other types of Cuban music and beyond - from the café to the symphony hall - and it continues to break new ground.
Wednesday, Aug 10, 7:00PMMuseum of the African Diaspora
The Son Afro-Cubano existed for several decades before arriving in Havana during the early years of the 20th Century. As with many other styles of Cuban music, the metropolitan sophistication of the capital contributed distinct traits and opportunities.
Wednesday, Aug 17, 7:00PMMuseum of the African Diaspora
Through its rise to the crest of popularity in Cuba, the versatile Son adapted to the tastes of its various audiences and adopted many other popular and folkloric musical styles along the way. The overlapping of the Son with various genres for so many decades has caused some confusion in terms of nomenclature.
Wednesday, Aug 24, 7:00PMMuseum of the African Diaspora
The Son achieved international popularity at the end of the 1920s and through the 1930s, and played a crucial role in the international movement to reclaim black artistic expression. The continued emigration of Cuban musicians to distant shores would also further the transformative nature of the Son as a primary force in international popular music.
Wednesday, Aug 31, 7:00PMMuseum of the African Diaspora
Definitive innovations within the Son during this era paved the way for modern day Salsa and Timba - truly a "golden age" for Cuban dance music. Some of the genre's greatest and most enduring stars emerged during this period.
Wednesday, Sep 7, 7:00PMMuseum of the African Diaspora
Miguel Matamoros, Ignacio Piñeiro, Arsenio Rodriguez and Benny Moré are indisputable royalty of the Son. In terms of composing, interpreting, recording and performing, they are in an elite class of soneros, contributing to a tradition that has remained in the hands of numerous descendants. Their legacies will forever endure.
Wednesday, Sep 14, 7:00PMMuseum of the African Diaspora
The Son is the foundation of the international Salsa phenomenon that emerged from New York's Puerto Rican community and preserved essential elements of the traditional Son, even as there was a movement away from traditional dance and music styles among many of Cuba's young musicians during the 1960s and 70s.
Wednesday, Sep 21, 7:00PMMuseum of the African Diaspora
The Son remains the unofficial national dance of Cuba and forms the basis of any impromptu fiesta. It did not leave the island with the exile community as many would have us believe. Cuban dance music maintains one foot in tradition and the other in a never-ending quest for reinvention, the Son being the most important element in that evolution.

I'm planning on attending the full series. I expect this series on son to be just as good as John Santos' series on rumba. If you happen to be in San Francisco during these dates August 3-September 21 I highly recommend that you stop by and take in a class.


My new Isla bata drums in MAHOGANY!

Just received the Iya for my Isla bata set the other day. What can I say? These drums are awesome. The Honduran Mahogany is just the most beautiful wood. It has great depth and a wonderful color. But looks don't mean anything when it comes to musical instruments. These bata sound incredible. The tones are so clear and clean and the slaps crisp and sharp....well except for the enu on the iya, it needs fardela for sure. My new iya is bigger than my old Isla Iya , it's a  13" head and needs the fardela to control the thinner skin and give the iya the solid thump it's supposed to have.

The mahogany wood is lighter than my old Isla bata set, which I sold to a great guy and excellent musician in Manchester, England.
 I'm not sure if I'm going to rope these like my old bata, the mahogany is sooo nice. I am going to make a chaworo (bells) for the iya though. Actually I already have 2 nice big bells for it I received as a gift from my mom for my last birthday. I'm not sure why she had them or where she got them, but they are going to be great for the chaworo. They sound awesome.

This is the first set of bata that Isla has made in mahogany and also the first set of Isla mahogany bata in the USA. I'm going to be keeping these for a long time. The only reason I sold  my old set was to make room for this set. No way do I need two sets of bata! I'm glad my old set went to an excellent new home.

Anyways, it's been a while since I had or played any bata. Guess it's time to get the study group back together for some toque practice. Ki-la, ki-la, ki-la....