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.


  1. This is a beautiful tribute to Lisa. Thank you so much for writing it and posting it. It gave me, her sister, a lot of comfort and I think my parents will also find it comforting. It really portrays a side of Lisa that her family members did not know well. I look forward to sharing it with my children.

    זיכרונה לברכה

    Lori Forman-Jacobi, Lisa's sister

  2. Thank you for writing a wonderful tribute to Lisa. It is very comforting to me and my parents that her friends are putting together a memorial and going out of their way to write their memories. This portrays a side of Lisa that we did not know well. I look forward to sharing it with my children.

    זיכרונה לברכה

    Lori Forman-Jacobi

  3. Lori,
    It means so much to me that you have contacted me. I am glad it gave you some comfort. It has helped me just writing it, though I am still in a lot of grief over Lisa's death.

  4. Thanks very much Geordie for posting this tribute. I met Lisa for the first time at one of Carlos Aldama's Classes at Ceasar Chavez School in the Mission ( formerly Hawthorne School which I attended as a kid ). I especially remember how nice she would play the lead parts to the Rumba Rhythms we did. I remember how serious she took her drumming and I have some good memories to keep of her now. Altogether It was about 4 or 5 times I had the priviledge to play with her. Lisa...everyone that knew and loved you will always keep you in their prayers,and hearts. I am honored to have known you. God Bless you always.

  5. My deepest sympathies, to you, Geordie, and to family and friends of Lisa. I didn't know her but I respected her deeply. She was an inspiration, especially to women in percussion. I mourn the loss of her spirit and talent, and I grieve with you all.
    ~ Laura Yanow

  6. Beautiful tribute Geordie.. My heartfelt condolences to all friends and family of Lisa. Much love and fond memories.

  7. pure spirit now
    a place of peace i pray
    no words can express

  8. To my dear sister-in-law Elaine,brother-in-law Phil, my niece Lori and her family:

    Thank you so much for sharing this memorial tribute to Lisa. It is absolutely lovely and heart warming to know that she had so many friends. My loving thoughts are with you all


  9. Thank you for posting your wonderful memories. I met Lisa 15 years ago through drumming. She introduced me to West African Drumming and many great people that were involved with the scene at Alice Arts Center in Oakland. We played and studied together, and she was always a serious student and eager to learn as much as she could. She was also a sweet person who always greeted me with a hug and a smile. I pray she's in a better place.

  10. HELLO:
    My name is Phil and my wife's name is Elaine. We are Lisa's parents. We wish to Thank Rumba Master(Geordie 'Ephraim' Dylan Van Der Bosch) for this wonderful Tribute.
    It is heartwarming to see how many people that
    Lisa touched, and how many friends have responded to this tragic event.
    We hope that Lisa is at "Peace" and myself, my wife and her sister will miss her.

  11. Thank you for this wonderful tribute to Lisa. I'd known her since college at UCSD--and later as a drummer in the Bay Area. It's great to hear your stories, she touched so many people in so many ways.

  12. My condolences go out to Lisa's family & of course, everyone whose lives were touched by her. It seems from reading these comments that Lisa was a catalyst for many of us on a musical path & introduced many of us to what we know today. I don't think she realized how much of a positive effect she had on people.

    On another note after reading this blog, I just want to let it be known that Lisa's Gon Bop has gone to another great musician who was a good friend of hers over the years. And Sunday at the gathering, as a way to honor Lisa's spirit, the drum will be there for others to respectfully & lovingly play in her memory. Thank you to Lisa's sister for making the decision to allow her drums to go to another wonderful spirit.

  13. I've known Lisa for a decade or so through the West African branch of her rhythm family. She always and consistently blessed me with friendliness, peacefulness, and consideration - never an unkind word or vibration. She treated people with respect and gentleness, and valued community greatly. While holding her part with steadiness, she always left room for everyone else also. But I never knew she was such a talented didge player! We have been blessed to share music and community with her, and she will always be with us.

  14. I am so sorry to hear this. I really have so much love and respect for Lisa. She was always so kind and positive to me - a truly loving and humble soul.

  15. Thank you Geordie and all for posting these memories and tributes. I met Lisa is 1996 at CCSF in Kwaku Daddy's drum class. We lived a couple blocks apart in the Haight, and Lisa was eager to introduce me to this wonderful world of drumming. Lisa always wanted to share what she loved with others. Lisa had been playing alot of Congolese music at this time, so the introduction to the Congolese community was key. We shared many Congo Camps together up in the Sierras. I so appreciate her sharing herself and her connections with me; this was the start for me of my drumming and dancing which has ultimately saved my life. Lisa and I had many great times taking classes, playing, attending camps & festivals, and just supporting each other through our daily lives -- she was a good friend.

    To Lisa's family, I am so very sorry for your loss.

    To this community, I know my grief is sweetened a bit by everyone's love and stories that have been shared and I look forward to the celebration today. Thank you for your care. May we all learn from Lisa's vitality and from her struggles how to live more fully and more deeply know the love in community that surrounds us.

    Lisa, my friend, drum free. Dance a little too. Its all yours now. Peace and love to you.


  16. thank you so much for writting this and honoring lisa's life.
    i also drummed numerous times with her and always felt such a deep respect for her and her talent.
    she will be so deeply missed!

  17. Lisa, you are so loved! Be blessed in death as you are loved by those that loved you in your lifetime! Your presence will be felt ~ always!

    Blessed be ~ In Spirit . . .


    Some people come into our lives and quickly go.,
    Some people move our souls to dance,
    They awaken us to new understanding with the passing whisper of their wisdom,
    Some people make the sky more beautiful to gaze upon,
    They stay in our lives for awhile,
    ...leave footprints on our hearts,
    and we are never ever the same.
    ~ by Flavia Weedn

    "Truth has no special time of its own. Its hour is now -- always."

  18. Lisa, May your spirit & your family be blessed by Peace, Love & Light!

    Eternal Blessings, Wade

  19. Years ago everything that meant anything to me was stolen out of my home. What mattered the most to me was my big heart-red colored tumba that I got on Valentine's day and my late grandmother's pendent. Lisa was the person who found my drum at a local music store and told me it was there. I went and claimed my drum and found my grandmothers pendent down the street at a jewelry store. It meant so much to me to have my beloved drum (my future) and pendent (my heritage) back in my life. I will always remember Lisa for helping me with something that meant so very much to me.

    Also, I got an iphone about 3 weeks ago and am still learning how it works. Still, I saw a strange message on my phone just as I drove away from the park and Lisa Forman's memorial.   The message said "Aganju"  and then like a ticker tape displayed "All Around".

    I looked up online today and found this is a song by Bebel Gilberto:

    "Aganju, All Around (Remix)"

    Te esperei na lua crescer
    Vi cadeira boa sentei
    Espirrei na tua gripel
    Por ficar a oleo resfial

    voce me agradou me acertou
    me miseravou, me aqueceu
    me rasgou a roupa e value
    e jurou conversa de dues


    quem sabe a latuba quitar

    sabe o trabalho qu da
    batalhar o pao e trazer
    para a casa o sobreviver

    encontraei na rua a questao
    cem por cento a falta de chao
    vou rezar ra nunca perder
    essa estruture que a voce


    I also found this reference from Wikipedia:

    "In Yoruba mythology, Aganju is the Orisha of volcanos, the wilderness, and the river. He is associated with Saint Christopher.

    As the third Òrìsà said to have come to earth, Aganjú is an Òrìsà of great antiquity. Lukumi followers of this religion believe that Aganjú is a force that, like the sun that is his symbol, is essential for growth, as well as a cultivator of civilizations. Like the volcano with which he is also associated, he forms the foundation upon which societies are built and is the catalyst for the production of vast amounts of wealth and commerce needed for advanced development. He is most highly regarded by Lukumi practitioners for his role in assisting humans in overcoming great physical as well as psychological barriers.

    Like the volcano, Aganjú is noted for his legendary strength and his ability to bring about drastic change. His significance in Cuba in the past is most probably due in part to the fact that he was said to have delivered people out of bondage and helped one to carry the heaviest of burdens.

    Aganju is heavily associated with Shango, with some stating that he is Shango's father, if not at least his brother. Aganju has been associated with Oshun, with whom he had a relationship, as well as with Yemoja. He is associated with the shoulder and has a strong, powerful, and determined character. Being a recognised member of the deified royal family of old Oyo, he is considered "one heart" with Oya and is received by all of Shango, Oshun and Oya's followers."

    The song is beautiful and the quote above made me feel better.  I thought I should share it with you. If anyone can translate the song for me, I would appreciate it. Is till don't know why my phone showed this message. If anyone knows the explanation to that, let me know.

    Love, Michelle Davis

  20. "All Around" by Bebel Gilberto (Lisa's song)

    After all, all I have in my mind is a silence all around
    a thousand times I have tried to find pieces of dreams, visions, and sounds
    and then I prayed for better days
    do you know how it is without anyone? do you know? anyone?
    don't let it go, never forget that when I think of you, you're not alone

    after all I have in my heart are the pieces that I found
    shades of blue swimming in the moon counting the stars all around
    I say a prayer for better days
    do you know how it is without anyone? do you know? anyone?

    don't let it go, never forget that when I think of you,
    you're not alone, you're not alone, you're not alone, you're not alone

    do you now how it is without anyone? do you know? anyone?
    do you know how it is without anyone? do you know? anyone.
    Don't let it go. never forget that when I think of you, you're not alone

    ((I'm still hoping for "Agangu" translated lyrics. -Michelle))

  21. My wife and I will always remember Lisa and her drumming. In the streets of the Bay, camping in northern Cal and in various classes over the years. I will always remember her dedication to the music and her respect for the roots. Lisa will be missed always.

  22. I miss Lisa, her dedication to drumming, her focus and ability to ignore the BS. Our paths crossed in many contexts over the years, playing West African and Congolese, playing rumba, supporting peace protests against Bush. She came early and left late at my parties. She always seemed happiest holding down a groove with friends. She had small hands but they held the rhythms solidly.

    I will miss your smile and so wish you had come to the Rainbow Gathering with us . . . . perhaps you're there now - Hadley Louden

  23. This is a very touching story Jordi. Great thoughts about a drumming friend. There's nothing like a friend who shares the passion for the same music.

  24. Hello,
    I am an old friend of Lisa's from San Francisco. We worked together for a couple years in 2005-2006. We remained friends after we both left that job. We helped each other a lot when job hunting as well as just needing some spiritual healing and a good friend to listen.

    I moved to NY in 2010 and had lost touch with her but always felt she was just an email or FB message away. I was thinking of her today and went to her FB page. I had no idea she had died. I feel terrible that so much time has gone by since we last spoke and saw each other and that so much time has gone by and I didn't even know she died.

    She was such a special soul. My last memory of us together was probably in 2009. I was living in Marin and she came out to my little house in Tennessee Valley. We went for a huge long hike and talked about everything. We had great fun. I always loved hearing about her music and drumming.

    Even when we hadn't seen each other in a long time, she would always reach out to me with a quick email hello. Always checking in. Always right there when I needed her.

    My thoughts & prayers are with her family and close friends. I hope in some way she does know the lasting impression she has left with us. I hope wherever she is, she is in peace and sharing that beautiful smile of hers.

    Lisa, I miss you dearly.
    Muir Palmer

  25. I don't know how I missed the dreadful news about Lisa, I knew Lisa for about 10 years. This is extremely sad. Since I wasn't part of the memorial gathering if there is another one maybe this coming July? someone please let me know.
    Ana Ponce

  26. I am sad to see this. I was friends with Lisa her last year at UCSD and last saw her a couple of times back in 1992 and 1993, when I visited the Bay Area.

  27. I am sad to see this. I was friends with Lisa her last year at UCSD and last saw her a couple of times back in 1992 and 1993, when I visited the Bay Area. I lost touch with her after that as I moved to Israel, but she was in my thoughts as a kind and fun friend.

    1. Hi Shimshon,
      I am sorry you had to find out this way. I miss Lisa very much. Her father is planning on having a bench in Lisa's honor placed in Golden Gate park. Lisa was a kind and fun friend and I am glad you remember her that way.