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D'Cuckoo was a women's multimedia ensemble of electronic percussion music formed in mid-1980s by Tina Blaine[1]), an ethnomusicologist and African drum expert, and Candice Pacheco, electronic musician and acoustic marimba player. It also included Tina Phelps, a trained Japanese ritual Taiko drummer, Jennifer Hruska, Terrie Odabi, and co-founder Patti Clemens, former The Second City comedy trouper.[2][3] Over time the size of the band ranged from 3 to 10 members including drummer Janelle Burdell (Planet Drum, Tupac) .[4] Virtual reality expert Linda Jacobson, their production manager, described them as a "neo-classical, post-industrial techno-tribal world funk ensemble".[5]

The group played an array of electronic marimbas and drums designed by the band along with the help of Silicon Valley engineers bringing in hi-tech Digital GFX and more. They were not exactly marimbas and drums: striking an instrument produces a musical sample, which may be a sample from a song. [3] In 1992 the group cooperated with technologist Linda Jacobson, [2] who assisted them with designing large interactive multimedia performances. In addition, in 1993 she was part of the ensemble as the voice of a computer-generated puppet.[5]

The group's inventions include the MidiBall, a device for interactive musical participation. The MidiBall is an inflatable ball with sensors, so that when it is bouncing around the auditorium and touched by the audience, it produces sounds and images, and in addition, it sends the signals to the stage and alters the sounding of the music.[2] [6][4]

Another interactive tool they used was "Bliss Paint" invented by Greg Jalbert, which was essentially a screensaver program modified to be controlled by audience for changing the visual imagery of the performance.[2]


  • 1994: Umoja, RGB Records, # 501[7] The title means "Unity" in Swahili[2]


  1. ^ "Tina Blaine aka BEAN"
  2. ^ a b c d e Timothy D. Taylor, Global Pop: World Music, World Markets, Routledge, 2014, ISBN 1135254087, pp. 112-119
  3. ^ a b "Electronic music that’s just D’Cuckoo", by Denise Caruso, SF Examiner, January 6, 1991
  4. ^ a b "Tina Blaine Inspires Dance and Drumming at Rhythmix", by Lee Hildebrand, Alameda Magazine
  5. ^ a b Loretta L. Lange, "VIRTUAL REALITY EVANGELIST: Interview with Linda Jacobson", Switch: The New Media Journal, vol. 1, No. 2
  6. ^ "Playin' D'Cuckoo MidiBall at San Francisco's Fashion Center ", Wired, Issue 1.01, March/April 1993
  7. ^ Umoja at AllMusic