2020 Vision: Your August A 440 Newsletter

Greetings, One & All~

High summer in the northern Sonoran Desert: heat and stillness roiled by sudden violent microbursts of wind and torrential monsoon thunderstorms; a season perfectly suited to lucid dreaming and the solitary quietude of poetry, both of which your humble narrator has had ample time to indulge. Your August A 440 Newsletter is a shady glade wherein cool creative refuge awaits.

Sonic Meditation

Zoom in tomorrow evening to the mysterious, mystical and magical musical atmosphere of the The TANK for this week’s Sonic Meditation Intensive with R. Carlos Nakai & Will Clipman. *Scroll through this e-blast and treat yourself to the eloquent tone poem by TANK Founder Bruce Odland elucidating the essence of The TANK sound!


Sonic Meditation Intensive

Sunday August 2, 2020

7:30 to 8:30pm Mountain Time
(6:30 Pacific, 9:30 Eastern)


Please join us by clicking this Zoom link


Meeting ID: 871 5768 9770

Tonight’s Tank Masters are
Native American Flutist
R. Carlos Nakai
and percussionist
Will Clipman

This four-week class will lead you into an expanded awareness of the sonic space around you.

It will encourage the skill of deep listening and cultivate a mindful wellness practice that can enhance other areas of your life and bring you joy and peace.

Led by Tank Sonic Guides Samantha Wade, Michael Van Wagoner, and Julie Noyes.

Experience the music of a different Tank Master each week.

Contribute your own sound recording for “Re-Tanking,” as our sonic guides play your sound in the Tank, record it in all of its glorious resonance, and let you hear it in the following session.

Part of our social impact programming, TANK MIND draws on the meditative and contemplative aspects of The Tank’s sonic environment.

TANK MIND is a program of Pivot Point, The Tank’s collaboration with Steamboat Creates to enhance access to mental health services in Northwest Colorado.

Pivot Point is made possible by Arts-in-Society, a collaborative grant-making program that fosters cross-sector work through the arts by supporting the integration of arts and culture into multiple disciplines critical to the health and well-being of Coloradans.

The Tank has given many people a genuine sense of awe.

“They may ascribe it to the Tank,” notes Tank Founder Bruce Odland, “but I ascribe it to the awakening of the ears in a predominantly visual age.

Our ears get so abused on a daily basis. Our modern society makes a bad offer to them. We don’t use the hearing sense the way we evolved to, as hunter-gatherers interacting with nature.

In the Tank, you feel the sound on the skin, you feel it in your gut. What people are in awe of is their own ability to hear properly.”

In this time, when we can’t gather together physically, we invite you to be on the earth with us, to open your ears, and experience some awe for yourself.

The TANK Center for Sonic Arts is an unusual arts venue: a tank, literally, an empty seven-story water tank in Rangely, Colorado, discovered in the 70’s to have extraordinary internal resonance, a reverberation longer and richer than the Taj Mahal’s.

At this point, The Tank is a fully-equipped recording venue and concert site, as well as a 501(c)3 nonprofit arts organization, founded in 2013 and offering educational and social impact programming.

The Tank has become a haven for the local music community and a unique destination for artists, sonic explorers, and curious visitors who learn to listen in a whole new way.

The TANK Center for Sonic Arts | JPCA, 412 11th Street, Suite 2R,
Brooklyn, NY 11215

Holistic Interview

My interview with Lyn & Erika Hicks for their Magical Holistic Healing Arts podcast is now up on YouTube and can be enjoyed at:

What made this far-reaching and in-depth conversation exceptionally stimulating for me is the way Lyn and Erika tossed pointedly provocative and intuitively well-informed questions into my pond and allowed my answers to ripple out expansively in all directions.

*I also noticed an eclectic assortment of other videos related to various projects of mine in the page-right menu, if any of these are of further interest to you*

Soaring Raven

I’m honored to endorse Soaring Raven Drums, made by Susan Cross. These impeccably hand-crafted one-of-a-kind instruments are suitable for both personal ceremony and professional performance and recording. You’ll be hearing from my Red Hand Bear Paw prototype soon: its clear, crisp, resonant tenor voice is unlike any drum in my collection.

learn more about the full spectrum of Susan’s work at


Soothing Energy

The healing power of music has seldom been more necessary. If you’ve not yet heard these two recent releases, you may enjoy chilling out to some soothing and energizing grooves.


Star Article

And speaking of Wildly Ethereal, an insightful article on the project by music writer Cathalena E. Burch appeared in the July 30th print edition of Caliente, the Arizona Daily Star weekly Arts & Entertainment supplement. An electronic version can be enjoyed at:


Up Here

With the on-going dearth of my own public events to disclose, I’m continuing my summer A 440 Tucson Spotlight on other local artists whose work has some relation to my own: the August spotlight illuminates legendary Old Pueblo singer/songwriter/guitarist (and now videographer) John Coinman, whose new video for his song Up Here can be viewed at:

I had the privilege and pleasure of playing percussion on the songs Up Here and Love is Everywhere for John’s latest album Under the Sun, and I love the subtle and emotionally evocative treatment he’s given the music with his tasteful superimposition of lyrics on visual imagery. Of course, when you start with a brilliant song it’s hard to go wrong!

Photos of the Month

And speaking of up here, nature photographer Shery Christopher continues to dazzle the eye with her Sonoran Summer Sunrise Series. These two selections contrast the cool and hot aspects of our early morning sky here at Rancho Improvisoso. Enjoy!

Sonoran Summer Sunrise 1, courtesy Shery Christopher Photography

Sonoran Summer Sunrise 2, courtesy Shery Christopher Photography

Poem of the Month

New Window

There is much to be learned from mindful attention

to the simplest tasks: how gravity works

and how we all fall down.

There are things we do for money and things we do

for love, and then there are those we do

only when touched from above

like this morning: a winged Thai goddess suspended

by an invisible thread pans imperceptibly

from two o’clock to ten o’clock

and back again, her unblinking eyes staring intently

at some point on the far horizon, always

above and beyond me, never

directly into mine. I try to awaken and stay awake

but keep getting pulled back into dreams,

and when I finally do cross over

into blue sky and sunlight I’m in tears at the absence

of a passion I may never know again

that made me feel alive;

so I begin again by giving thanks for all the blessings

of this day, whatsoe’er they may be, those

that have already been bestowed

and those yet to come, and ask that I may carry them all

forward with gratitude, humility and grace

in the highest good of all.

I look out a new window and take in a view of the mountains

I’ve never seen in a quarter-century of waking up

in this particular room, in this particular

house, on this particular hilltop west of the Old Pueblo

in the northern Sonoran Desert: I see

with startling new clarity

the mushroom cloud of smoke from a month-long wildfire

rising to merge with black thunderheads

I pray contain the blessing of rain;

I notice how delicately a curve-billed thrasher alights

on a quarter-split saguaro fruit to precisely

peck out only certain seeds,

one of which will pass through intact and land in shade

beneath a palo verde tree, and in another

hundred years or so be another

saguaro lifting its arms to blue sky in sunlight, or in black night

to embrace the penumbral eclipse of another

full Buck Moon I’ll never see.

Ashes to ashes and dust to dust, both of which rise in beauty

even as they fall: everything matters absolutely,

precisely because nothing lasts.

© Will Clipman 2020

~May mid-summer windows open for you
with vision and clarity lastingly true~

Know your heart; lead with your heart; follow your heart.

~Guillaume Henri

Will Clipman

poet ~ percussionist ~ maskmaker ~ storyteller ~ performing artist ~ educator



2020 Vision: Your July A 440 Newsletter

Together we can make a new beginning
grounded in sensitivity, creativity and responsibility.

~Guillaume Henri

2020 Vision: Your June A 440 Newsletter

Greetings, One & All~

I trust this finds you all in good health and spirits, as is your humble correspondent. This is a time of new beginnings, of adapting to a changed world and continuing to pursue our passions in creative new ways. So, while the booking dominoes have continued to fall as far out as September, other events closer in are moving forward mindfully, responsibly and considerately. In the spirit of keeping in touch with all the good news that’s fit to print (and with apologies for it being just a tad late due to yours truly having been out on the road again) please enjoy this June issue of your A 440 Newsletter!

New Beginnings

My outdoor Planet of Percussion solo performance at Pinon Hills Labyrinth Retreat in Pinon Hills CA on May 30th was a wonderful re-entry into the world of live performance, and a model of how live events can be presented mindfully, responsibly and considerately in the new reality we all now inhabit. Many thanks to Matthew & Mirrah Mullen for hosting my visit so graciously, and to all the interesting and interested folks who attended.

Breathing Space

The Space Between Breaths 2020 Summer Tour has been distilled down from the original five shows to its essence: our two privately presented outdoor concerts in Colorado Springs and Loveland CO, both of which will feature comfortable social distancing and cordial respect for all personal protection preferences, in addition to a mile o’ smile and a ton o’ fun. For information and advance ticketing, please contact Sherry Finzer at Heart Dance Records and she’ll put you in touch with our gracious hosts.



The latest iteration of the ever-evolving Nakai phenomenon is RC3: The R. Carlos Nakai Trio. RC3 places Nakai’s incomparable Native American flute mastery center stage at the sonic spear point of AmoChip Dabney’s mellifluous multi-instrumentalism and Will Clipman’s percolating pan-global percussion. The new sound is spacious and soothing, yet groovy and danceable: high-energy music played with subtlety and finesse. RC3 is recording new material with engineer Peter Dalton Ronstadt at his LandMark Sound Recorders studio in Tucson, Arizona; the trio will perform live in the Southwest this fall, and in the Southeast next year. Watch this space for the continuing adventures of RC3!

Poem of the Month

I’ve been writing a lot over the past three months and have a bunch of new poems to share; but when a friend and A 440 reader requested a Poem of the Month that was about anything other than the pandemic, I realized all my new work had been inspired in some way by current events and would not provide much diversion from that subject. So I’ll hold those for a further remove from present reality, and offer instead this gnomic utterance from the archives: though it was composed two years ago, it resonates presciently in subtle ways with the present moment. Enjoy!


a month of endings

and beginnings

of extremes

and broken records

of power lost

and regained

of veils pulled back

and masks removed

of truth revealed

and sweeping clean

of letting go

and just being

© Will Clipman 2020

Photos of the Month

That clicking sound you’ve been hearing is not the re-emergence of the 17-year cicadas, it’s the shutter of Shery Christopher’s camera. With a wealth of new images to choose from, I had a hard time narrowing the month’s selections down to just these three. Enjoy!

Setting Flower Moon, courtesy Shery Christopher Photography

Reptile Renaissance, courtesy Shery Christopher Photography

We Come in Peace, courtesy Shery Christopher Photography

~Wishing you all good health, good spirits and a good way forward~

Make beauty.

~Guillaume Henri

Will Clipman

poet ~ percussionist ~ maskmaker ~ storyteller ~ performing artist ~ educator



2020 Vision: Your May A 440 Newsletter

Greetings, One & All~

What was to have been a full March and April here in Willyworld suddenly turned eerily empty. I know this has been true for many of you as well. I’m staying creatively engaged; cultivating constant gratitude for my blessings; getting outside as much as possible to revel in nature’s remarkable resurgence; emulating the many acts of courage, compassion and clarity that are happening all around us every day; behaving rationally and responsibly without withdrawing into resignation and isolation; envisioning and working toward a hopeful and productive future; and keeping my sense of humor. By way of staying connected in these disconnected times, please enjoy this May issue of your A 440 Newsletter. Be well, be of good cheer and be in touch!

Masterful Music

In 2018, R. Carlos Nakai and I had the unique pleasure of performing and recording in the astounding acoustic environment of The TANK. Our sold-out evening performance was recorded, as was a three-hour “studio” session the following morning. This material has never been commercially released, so it is especially gratifying that The TANK is sharing some of it as a form of musical healing at a time when that positive energy is sorely needed around the world. Given the extraordinarily sensitive resonance and reverberation of The TANK, in which one can literally hear a pin drop, it’s amazing that the musicians were able to create such a sense of timelessness and space, and perhaps even more so that the audience was able to remain utterly silent for the entire duration of the performance. Kudos to GRAMMY-winning engineer Tom Wasinger for his impeccable recording, mixing and mastering of this improvisational sonic odyssey.

*headphones are recommended for total immersion in the sound*


Tank Masters Series

R. Carlos Nakai and Will Clipman

In Concert September 8, 2018

Listen now

If you‘ve been wondering what’s happening at the Tank in this time of global pandemic, wonder no more.

The Tank is fine, sitting on its hill above Rangely, Colorado, reverberating even at this moment with the desert wind and rain.

Not much can happen to a seven-story Corten steel water tank.

It was there when we left, and it will be there when we return.

In the meantime, we’re extending the reach of our Tank Channel, our archive of recordings from the Tank, and bringing them to you in this disrupted moment.

We the hope that these sounds will give you what the Tank can give: healing, beauty, spiritual uplift, deep serenity and a renewed sense of our best possible selves.

Each week, we’ll be sending you new music
–both full concerts and playlists–
from the Tank.

This Week

R. Carlos Nakai and Will Clipman, September 8, 2018

This week we are pleased to present R. Carlos Nakai and Will Clipman.

R. Carlos’s flute and Will’s percussion were perfect in this concert, as these two master musicians proved acutely sensitive to the deep resonance of the Tank.

Their evocation of the Native American spirit sounded inside the
Tank and over the surrounding hills, potent and moving.

We were honored to welcome members of the Ute tribe to this performance.

If you listen closely, you will hear the desert wind in the background.

Click here to hear this concert

Of Navajo-Ute heritage, R. Carlos Nakai is the world’s premier performer of the Native American flute. Originally trained in classical trumpet and music theory, he was given a traditional cedar wood flute as a gift in the early 1980’s and challenged to see what he could do with it. Since then Nakai has released more than 50 albums, including 40 on the Canyon Records label. Nakai has sold more than 4.3 million albums for Canyon Records and earned two Gold Records for Canyon Trilogy and Earth Spirit. In 2014, Canyon Trilogy reached Platinum status (over 1 million units sold) the first ever for a Native American artist performing traditional solo flute music. In addition to his solo appearances throughout the United States, Europe and Japan, Nakai has worked with harp-guitarist William Eaton, flutist Paul Horn, composers James DeMars and Phillip Glass, and various symphony orchestras. Nakai has received eleven Grammy nominations in four different categories and earned a Governor’s Arts Award. Nakai’s career has been shaped by a desire to communicate a sense of Native American culture and society that transcends the common stereotypes presented in mass media.

Will Clipman began playing his father’s drums and his mother’s piano at the age of three, and has mastered a pan-global palette of percussion instruments in addition to the traditional drumkit since playing his first professional gig at the age of fourteen. His seven Grammy nominations include his solo album Pathfinder and his duo album with R. Carlos Nakai Awakening the Fire. Will is a three-time Native American Music Award winner, a New Age Reporter Music Award Winner, a Zone Music Reporter Award winner, and a two-time Tammie Award winner, and has been inducted into the Tucson Musicians Museum for his contributions to the musical community in his hometown. He has recorded over seventy albums, including thirty-five for Canyon Records, the world’s foremost Native American music label. In addition to his on-going collaborations with R. Carlos Nakai and other internationally-acclaimed artists and ensembles, Will’s solo performances and workshops Myths & Masks and Planet of Percussion showcase his original mask art, mythopoetic storytelling and multicultural music.

The TANK Center for Sonic Arts, Inc. | 233 County Road 46, Rangely, CO 81648


It will come as no surprise that the much-anticipated R. Carlos Nakai Quartet concert at Hotel Congress Plaza in Tucson AZ scheduled for May 1st has been postponed until Friday October 23rd. At this time, our performance at the Feel Good Festival in Atlanta GA on Sunday July 19th is still on!

photo courtesy Shery Christopher Photography

Meanwhile, envision what lies beyond our currently constrained reality with the Q’s visionary music as your inspirational soundtrack:


Breathing Space

The Space Between Breaths by Sherry Finzer & Will Clipman on Heart Dance Records has been nominated for Best World Album in the 2020 Zone Music Reporter Awards. The live awards ceremony in New Orleans has been canceled, but I’ll keep you apprised of any further good news that ensues.

Meanwhile, take a space between breaths and let your heart dance to this profoundly soothing and energizing music:

Tour News

Sherry and I also have five June tour dates on the books for Colorado and Utah, bringing the healing energy of our music to intimate audiences who can safely gather for uplifting entertainment with appropriate social distancing. Everything is obviously day-to-day these daze, so I’ll keep you as current as I can with any changes to this schedule:

Wednesday June 17th: Yurt Concert at FreeNotes, Durango CO

Thursday June 18th: House Concert at Casa DeVilbis, Colorado Springs CO

Friday June 19th: Living Room Concert, Loveland CO

Saturday June 20th: Wildwood Sounds, Del Norte CO

Sunday June 21st: The Helipad, Moab UT

Wildy Ethereal

Wildly Ethereal, the new album by Michael G. Ronstadt & Will Clipman, officially drops on May 10th as Volume 4 in the Shaken Earth experimental music series. I’m excited for this inspirational improvisational music to be heard. Click on the info & ordering link below to get wildly ethereal with it, and watch this space for tour dates.


California POP

In the spirit of envisioning the future with optimism while being fully aware of and sensitive to the realities of the present, I’ve teamed up with the Pinon Hills Labyrinth Martial Arts Retreat in Pinon Hills CA to plan a Planet of Percussion performance on Saturday May 30th as part of that weekend’s regularly scheduled martial arts camp.

Live Streams

Like many artists around the world, I have endeavored to maintain a performance profile with a couple of recent virtual concerts: one with the indie-folk duo Big Grin, and one with master guitarist Gabriel Ayala and Venezuelan vocalist Wladimir Pinto, both of which were tons of fun and very well-received. My thanks to these talented artists for inviting me to join them on pan-global percussion for these free performances.

Healing Arts

On Monday May 18th at 11 AM PT/12 PM MT yours truly will be interviewed for the new podcast The Magical Holistic Healing Arts, hosted by the mother-daughter team of Lyn & Erika Hicks. Lyn is a personal transformation consultant and the author of The Lotus Project and The Art of Being a Woman. The archive of this free-flowing, informative and inspirational conversation may be enjoyed after May 18th at:



Poem of the Month

When the explanations available in ordinary reality prove inadequate to extraordinary circumstances, it is human nature to seek meaning in the deeper and more enduring metaphors of myth. This persona poem harkens back to the ancient past for a voice that speaks truthfully to the future about our strange and challenging present.

Gandharva Confides in Apsara

~for AM

I am evanescent.

I become cloud, mist, fog and rain.

My breath is perfumed

with the sweet rot of dead flowers.

Even my tears are toxic.

Yet I am not evil.

How can I say this?

Because my every step is a dance of forgiveness,

my every word a prayer of gratitude.

Encoded in the notes of my music

are hopeful messages I carry between worlds.

I’m neither taking credit

nor looking around for someone to blame.

This germ we’re hosting isn’t evil, either.

After all, it’s only trying to live, too.

It’s reminding us there is not now

nor ever was a normal to return to;

that down to the last grain of sand

we are all are one; and that this little

oasis in space is our only home.

I regard my earthsuit with startled curiosity,

as one might some bizarre creature

that comes up suddenly out of the murk

to press itself against the glass

of an intergalactic vivarium.

It is no more me

than a tree bending in the wind

is the wind.

Friend, you know my secret!

That is why we can sit together

and talk quietly about life.

© Will Clipman 2020

Photos of the Month

While it’s true that we live in a desert, this image from Shery Christopher reminds us that when we receive the blessing of Spring rain, our Sonoran landscape and skyscape can be magically transformed into a lush Impressionistic palette of tropical texture and color.

Tropical Desert, courtesy Shery Christopher Photography

And again, using her camera lens as a paint brush, Shery’s rendering of the setting Full Egg Moon reveals the unretouched natural magic that the artist’s eye enables us all to enjoy.

Moon Pool, courtesy Shery Christopher Photography

~Be well, be of good cheer and be in touch~

A combination of courage, compassion, clarity and creativity will overcome any challenge.

~Guillaume Henri

Will Clipman

poet ~ percussionist ~ maskmaker ~ storyteller ~ performing artist ~ educator



2020 Vision: Your March-April A 440 Newsletter

Greetings, One & All~

Having that extra day in February didn’t get me any closer to getting everything done last month, but it did provide an opportunity to share some scintillating new music with a live audience for the first time, and to successfully conclude the latest installment of my all-time longest-running Artist-in-Residency. I’ll be out of the country at the next turn of the month, so with a glance over my shoulder while gazing down the river and around the bend, I offer this combined March-April A 440 Newsletter for your enjoyment!

Vibe Tribe

My new worldbeat dance band Vibe Tribe leaped into 2020 with a premiere showcase at the venerable Tucson venue Solar Culture on Leap Year Saturday, to the delight of a colorful art gallery crowd. Watch this space for future tribal gatherings!

Big Grin

Another new project of mine is seasoning the sumptuous indie-folk sound of Big Grin with spicy percussion. We played a surprise gig at Monterey Court on Friday February 28th, and our next scheduled outing is a set at the Tucson Folk Festival on Sunday April 5th.

Myths & Masks

2020 continues to be rich in Myths & Masks: February marked the successful completion of my 24th Annual Artist-in-Residency at Cheyenne Traditional School in Scottsdale AZ, and I’m already looking forward to our Silver Anniversary AiR next year.

Fast forward to March and April, wherein I resume the epic Myths & Masks adventure with my next Artist-in-Residency at Wade Carpenter Middle School in Nogales AZ. This program will be conducted in two phases, the first in March and the second in April.

Medicine Arrow

Medicine Arrow will perform its first concert of 2020 at the Deer Valley Petroglyph Preserve in Phoenix AZ on Saturday April 4th from 4-5:30 PM, enlivening this storied ancient ground with its contemporary native fusion sound.

Medicine Arrow: Roman Orona, Will Clipman & Aaron White

Now Available

It only took Professor LoTech six months, but I finally posted The Space Between Breaths, my breath-taking new Heart Dance Records collaboration with classical flutist Sherry Finzer, on my website purchase page. Give it a listen and let your heart dance!


Coming Soon

And while you’re at it, save a spot in your media library for the forthcoming cello-and-percussion extravaganza Wildly Ethereal by Michael G. Ronstadt & Will Clipman. Having recorded and mixed with Peter Dalton Ronstadt at LandMark Sound Recorders, we’re now applying the final buff and polish with Cass Anawaty at Sonoran Mastering and expect to release mid-2020, with touring to follow.

Wildly Ethereal cover art by Annabelle Ronstadt, age two

Poem of the Month

Reasons for Being

~for TC

In Japanese it’s ikigai: a word

made of life and meaning; it’s why

we get up in the morning.

The French say raison d’etre

and it’s why my eyelids flutter open

at the rising sun’s first caress.

It’s why one of us spent all morning in the cold living room

of a crumbling three-story antebellum Victorian in upstate New York

improvising the whole co-op awake on an out-of-tune upright,

while another one stayed up alone all night in the garret

scribbling away the emptiness and holding up a palm-out hand

at any human intrusion: Not now, I’m talking to God.

O Monks of the Ancient and Honorable Order of Thelonious,

let the Leap Year Hunger Moon light our way with a perfect vision

of all that is imperfect, which is all. Let us take delight in that!

© Will Clipman 2020

Photo of the Month

In twenty-two years of living here at Rancho Improvisoso, I’ve never seen a mourning dove this color. She’s perfectly camouflaged against the rocky ground outside our kitchen window, and so I trust she’ll escape the notice of our resident Cooper’s Hawk Harriet long enough to pass on this uniquely beautiful adaptation to the next generation.

photo courtesy Shery Christopher Photography

May the miracles of Spring
be yours in March and April
and may we meet again in May

Absolute certainty is the last refuge of a closed mind.

~Guillaume Henri

Will Clipman

poet ~ percussionist ~ maskmaker ~ storyteller ~ performing artist ~ educator



2020 Vision: Your February A 440 Newsletter

Greetings, One & All~

The first quarter of 2020 continues to trend from stage to classroom (the ultimate stage, where our future is dreamed into being) in a month punctuated with an exclamation point by one giant Leap Year leap into performance mode. Enjoy this short and sweet February issue of your A 440 Newsletter!

Myths & Masks

From Tuesday February 18th through Friday February 28th I will conduct my 24th annual Myths & Masks Artist-in-Residency at Cheyenne Traditional School in Scottsdale AZ, celebrating nearly a quarter-century of tradition and innovation in arts education with a new crop of budding fourth grade maskmakers and poets.

Vibe Tribe

On Leap Year Saturday February 29th the new world music dance band Vibe Tribe will debut at Solar Culture in Tucson AZ, performing for a gallery opening at 7 PM. Billed as Dance Music for a Whole New World, Vibe Tribe seasons its sumptuous menu of original material with choice a la carte covers, and features a line-up of some of The Old Pueblo’s best-known players blending with some fresh new faces you’ll want to meet.

Scott Anderson~Chelsie Bonifer~Joe Townend~Robert “Swami” Peizer~Chris Screven~Will Clipman

Poem of the Month

My January Artist-in-Residency schedule necessitated rising at 4 AM most mornings, which seemed daunting at first, but which soon became a welcome ritual of awakening and awareness that gave rise to the composition of your February Poem of the Month.

It’s Good to Be Awake

I awaken in the middle of the night and hear them:

all the whispered words I wish I’d listened to

before the whisperers were forever gone.

It’s good to be awake in the hours before dawn

with only coyotes, a great horned owl and

the Southern Pacific’s mournful wail,

not because I cannot sleep (that portentous glimpse

of infinite peace) but because I have something

more important to get up for and do.

Everything in motion eventually comes to rest

and everything that lives eventually dies.

Don’t fret, others will move and live!

The absence of pain is the most exquisite pleasure:

embrace the space it leaves; get up and do

what you do until you can’t anymore.

Be like the waning daytime crescent moon, who knows

the rising sun will soon obliterate its paling light

yet holds its form and is content.

© Will Clipman 2020

Photo of the Month

As Ansel Adams demonstrated beyond any shadow of a doubt, there is a subtle mystery and majesty in nature that can only be revealed in black and white. This image of saguaros and cholla haloed by desert sun against a wind-swept sky was captured by R.C. Clipman on New Year’s Day in the Tucson Mountains just west of Rancho Improvisoso.

photo courtesy R.C. Clipman Photography

~May our individual and collective vision be 2020 this year~

Sorrow is the soil from which joy springs.

~Guillaume Henri

Will Clipman

poet ~ percussionist ~ maskmaker ~ storyteller ~ performing artist ~ educator



2020 Vision: Your January A 440 Newsletter

Greetings, One & All~

Welcome to the new year! I’d love to hear what you’re up to this month; meanwhile, please enjoy some retrospective reflections and some upcoming highlights from Willyworld in this January issue of your A 440 Newsletter.

Profound Fun

My Rhizome Renaissance Redwood Retreat, as I’ve taken to calling it, was a deeply connective and immensely enjoyable way to close out 2019; as one of the participants in my Myths & Masks workshop put it to me: you put the fun in profundity! Many thanks to the team at Canyon Ranch Wellness Retreat in Woodside, California for hosting both my weekend workshop and our kick-off concert with R. Carlos Nakai so graciously. I look forward to further creative adventures with this progressive wellness community.

photo courtesy Jenai Lane

Continental AiR

For ten days beginning on Tuesday January 7th and ending on Thursday January 23rd, I will conduct my Myths & Masks Artist-in-Residency program with sixth and seventh grade social studies students at Continental School in Green Valley, Arizona. On Friday January 24th, I’ll conduct four Planet of Percussion assembly presentations of for K-2 students.

Common Ground

On Friday & Saturday January 17th & 18th, I’ll conduct Planet of Percussion world drumming workshops and participate in a collaborative faculty performance as part of the Common Ground on the Border event in Sahuarita, Arizona. There are too many artists, thinkers, writers, activists and performers to begin to name here, and too diverse a menu of activities to list, so please explore this ground-breaking event further at:


Big Grin

One of my new musical adventures for 2020 is a collaboration with Big Grin. The heart and soul of this dynamic new indie-folk ensemble is the guitar-and-vocal duo T. Greg Squires & Liz Cerepanya, who are more and more frequently joined by whiz kid violinist Danny Worms. My world-folk percussion debut with the band will be from 6-8 PM on Friday January 31st at Harbottle Brewing Company in Tucson, Arizona. The logo says it all!

Breathing Space

The trance groove flute-and-drum album The Space Between Breaths by Shery Finzer & Will Clipman has continued to garner rave reviews and inspire discerning listeners around the world since its release on the Heart Dance Records label in late 2019. Among other accolades, TSBB finished the year at #16 on the Journeyscapes Top 25 Albums chart. Watch this space for mid-summer tour dates.


Wildly Ethereal

The avant-garde cello-and-percussion collaboration Wildly Ethereal by Michael G. Ronstadt & Will Clipman is slated for mastering and 2020 release as Volume Four of the Shaken Earth contemporary instrumental recording series. Recorded and mixed by Peter Dalton Ronstadt at LandMark Sound Recorders in Tucson, Arizona, these ten high-energy tracks explore a genre-defying realm where classical depth and improvisational fire collide: earth-shaking, indeed!

Wildly Ethereal cover art by Annabelle Ronstadt, age 2

Turtle Island

On December 15th I was interviewed live for the Turtle Island radio show on KBUT-FM, a Radio Free America affiliate broadcasting out of Crested Butte, Colorado, by legendary Native American, Roots, Reggae and World Music impresario Dan Baynes. Much to my surprise, Dan was mainly interested in Myths & Masks, and our on-air conversation led to further discussions about presenting a weekend concert-and-workshop combo in Crested Butte. Watch this space for further news on that! More about Dan and his show at:


Poem of the Month

I ventured way outside my comfort zone with the creation of a new Mythic Persona Poem as part of the Woodside Myths & Masks retreat, and I’ve decided to climb even further out on that limb by sharing it with you here.

The Fire of Forgiveness

I am called Nampilc Yrneh Mailliw Vi.

Among the Sequoia People

I am known as The Fire of Forgiveness.

I am as old as the softening heartwood

of a fallen grandfather tree

sprouting its own miniature forest of moss and fern,

yet as new and unexpected

as an electric yellow banana slug

making its infinitely patient way across a footpath

in the aftermath of a late autumn rainstorm.

My story begins as the canopy of the rainforest

emerges from a cold coastal fog: dancing figures

with arms upraised in supplication and in celebration;

I find my purpose moment by moment

in the ceaseless choreography of creation, destruction and renewal.

I manifest in many forms: the white-hot flash

of a lightning bolt igniting tinder-dry wood;

the swirling blue smoke of purification

rising like a silent prayer from earth to sky;

the roiling black cauldron of a storm cloud

as it gathers inward toward release;

a shower of jewels pelting parched foliage;

a glistening fern impossibly green against a backdrop

of blood-red bark, yearning upward and out

in search of redemption.

My voice can be the rumble of thunder,

the freight-train roar of an all-consuming conflagration,

the polyrhythmic percussion of a deluge

punctuating the sorrowful susurrus of wind through the trees;

my song resolves in ringing silence and solitude

with no one else to hear, where to my inner ear I ask

if the forest can forgive the fire, who am I

not to forgive myself?

I dwell in the beating heart of the seeker

and travel an untrodden path through this landscape

of life and death, stopping to rest wherever shelter is offered,

but never staying in one place long enough to feel at home.

I live in the cryptic symbols of a language only I can speak,

but which can be revealed and read beneath the bark

of a beetle-killed tree.

My preternatural equanimity vanquishes fear,

the great soul-killer, and alchemizes courage and confidence

from the base elements of attachment and self-doubt.

I possess the power that is generated when opposites interact:

the power that drives the universal engine and enlivens all.

The Sequoia People revel in my rootedness, taking comfort

in the awareness of commonality and community I inspire,

yet each of them stands alone in a column

of individuality and uniqueness, ascending toward pure spirit

along a vector no one else has ever or will ever replicate.

My future is unknown and indeed unknowable

as I fluctuate endlessly and effortlessly

between order and chaos; I exist

in this present moment only: fearless and formless

yet firmly grounded in the embodiment of all that is.

If you call me, call me Nampilc Yrneh Mailliw Vi,

The Fire of Forgiveness. If you listen, I will answer!

© Will Clipman 2019

(composed at Canyon Ranch Woodside Wellness Retreat, 12.5-8.19)

Photo of the Month

This looks more like a deft Impressionist oil painting from a century gone by, but such is the artistic lens of Shery Christopher’s nature photography. Along with eyeball-to-eyeball roadrunner encounters through the breakfast room window. . .

Solstice Broadbill, courtesy Shery Christopher Photography

. . . and this astounding triptych of our resident Cooper’s hawk Harriet from R. Craig Clipman’s American Palette series, it’s been quite a photogenic winter solstice season here at Rancho Improvisoso!

Harriet Times Three, courtesy R. Craig Clipman Photography

~May our vision be 2020 in the new year~

If you find a place that feels like home, cherish it lovingly,
nurture it mindfully and protect it fiercely.

~Guillaume Henri

Will Clipman

poet ~ percussionist ~ maskmaker ~ storyteller ~ performing artist ~ educator



Winter Wonders

Greetings, One & All~

For many Decembers in recent memory, I have been booked nearly every day and night of the month, and gratefully so. This December, however, I have intentionally booked only one very special engagement, as detailed below in this brief final issue of your 2019 A 440 Newsletter. Beyond that, I’ll immerse myself in the daily wonders of home, relationship, family, friends, music, art and nature as this year comes to a close. May your winter solstice holidays be peaceful and joyous, and may our vision be 2020 in the coming new year!

Woodside Wonders

Early December will find me at the fabulous new Canyon Ranch Wellness Retreat in Woodside, California for a wonder-filled weekend of transformational music and art: R. Carlos Nakai & Will Clipman will perform an intimate concert at 7:30 PM on Thursday December 5th, followed by my three-day Myths & Masks creative self-realization workshop on Friday, Saturday & Sunday, December 6th, 7th & 8th.

concert info & ticket link


workshop information & registration:

Myths & Masks

photo courtesy Robert Doyle Photography / Canyon Records

photo courtesy ICU Imagery

Be the light and live the dream.

~Guillaume Henri

Will Clipman

poet ~ percussionist ~ maskmaker ~ storyteller ~ performing artist ~ educator



A Noteworthy November

Greetings, One & All~

Having spent a good bit of October on the road, in the air, over the ocean, in hotels and in airports, it’s good to be back in Arizona and working closer to home for a spell. This noteworthy November starts immediately on Day One, so read on now for all the good news this month (and a transformational glimpse ahead into early December) in this issue of your A 440 Newsletter!

RCNQ Aloha

The R. Carlos Nakai Quartet delivered and received much aloha in Hawaii last month, as exemplified in this photo-and-video enhanced review. Mahalo to all who came to our shows and danced on stage with us, to our lovely and talented special guest chanters, to Global Media Productions, and especially to RC for dreaming this experience into being.

Big Island Music News review

Native American Jazz Fusion Meets Hawaiian Spoken Word at RCNQ Concert

Winged Beats

On Friday November 1st from 3-5 PM the R. Carlos Nakai & Will Clipman duo will perform a benefit concert at Casa de San Pedro in Hereford AZ for the Madrean Archipelago Wildlife Center to raise funds and awareness toward protecting the San Pedro River, southeastern Arizona’s last free-flowing riparian ecosystem.

info, tickets & directions at


photo courtesy Pamela Hyde / A’toka Arts Management

Vets Flutes

On Friday November 8th at 7 PM the R. Carlos Nakai Trio will perform as part of a benefit concert for Flutes For Vets at Grace St. Paul’s Church in Tucson AZ to raise funds and awareness for this visionary program bringing healing and personal transformation to veterans through the art of the Native American flute.

info & tickets at


photo courtesy Shery Christopher Photography

Musical Medicine

On Sunday November 10th the R. Carlos Nakai Quartet will provide uplifting musical atmosphere for a convention of the Association of American Medical Colleges at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix AZ.

photo courtesy Shery Christopher Photography

SunDog Twins

Appropriately enough, on Thursday November 21st at 8 PM the Leon Littlebird & Will Clipman duo (aka, The SunDog Twins) will be in concert at Solar Culture in Tucson AZ. This is is an exclusive, don’t-miss Arizona engagement at one of The Old Pueblo’s hottest AND coolest venues!

info & tickets at


Playful Performance

Roman Orona, Will Clipman & Aaron White, collectively known as Medicine Arrow, will offer a benefit performance at the Arizona Science Center in Phoenix AZ on Friday November 29th as part of the 20th Annual Native American Children Toy Drive.

photo courtesy Marilyn White / Whistling Wind Productions

New Releases

Yours truly plays on two cuts off the brilliant new Join Coinman album Under the Sun, just out from Arroyo Verde Productions. I had the unexpected pleasure of performing four numbers with John and his all-star band at their CD release concert on the Hotel Congress Plaza stage in the heart of The Old Pueblo on October 26th, including the opening cut (one of the two I recorded and my personal favorite) Love is Everywhere.

Google Review


Love is Everywhere video

Also, just out from Heart Dance Records, yours truly added that ol’ udu voodoo that he do so well to one track on the new Monica Williams album Within Us All, holding the heartbeat for Monica’s sumptuous world flutes.


Breathing Space

The new elemental trance groove album The Space Between Breaths by Sherry Finzer & Will Clipman from Heart Dance Records is rocking the airwaves, including October radio play on the world’s foremost contemporary instrumental music program Echoes.

New Age Music Guide feature

The Space Between Breaths – Sherry Finzer & Will Clipman

Blue Wolf review

Woodside Wonders

Early December will find me at the fabulous new Canyon Ranch Wellness Retreat in Woodside CA for a wonderful weekend of transformational experiences. The kick-off event is an intimate concert with yours truly and Native American flute master R. Carlos Nakai at 7 PM on Thursday December 5th, followed by my Myths & Masks creative self-realization workshop on Friday-Sunday December 6th-8th.

concert info & ticket link


workshop information & registration:

Myths & Masks

photo courtesy Robert Doyle Photography / Canyon Records

Poem of the Month


People have come here for sixteen thousand years

to drink groundwater water from the last Ice Age

and in all that time no one has claimed to own you.

Pupfish wriggle in the trickle that feeds you

and a mud turtle slumbers deep in your bank

to the dreamtime rhythm of your prehistoric percolation.

Black-shelled snails smaller than a sesame seed who’ve lived here

since before the dinosaurs and survived multiple mass extinctions

ink like indelible periods the brink beyond which nothing drinks.

Now those who have never lived here plan to drain you

to mix concrete and tamp down construction dust

for a monument to futility in the middle of the desert.

May they wake in the middle of the night and hear

all the whispered wisdom they should be listening to

before the whisperers are gone. May they learn–

though it’s mocked in this age of incessant distraction–

that there’s something to be said for simply sitting still

in the shade of an ancient cottonwood and reflecting:

between never and forever there must be earth and sky

and water for all things that live and die and live again.

That which is whole cannot be divided.

© Will Clipman 2019

Photo of the Month

The pioneering Russian abstract painter Wassily Kandinsky famously opined that great abstraction and great realism are two paths to the same goal, an artistic achievement exemplified in your November Photo of the Month by Shery Christopher, who captured this mystical melange of natural forms against a reflective matrix of sunset sea and sky at Puako, Hawai’i during a brief respite in the recent RCNQ four-island tour. Dive in!

photo courtesy Shery Christopher Photography

~Make your November noteworthy as only you can~

It’s never too late to do good.

~Guillaume Henri

Will Clipman

poet ~ percussionist ~ maskmaker ~ storyteller ~ performing artist ~ educator



October Gold

Greetings, One & All~

I’m grateful for the golden glow of October in the Sonoran Desert as the early morning air grows cool, the midday sky turns pure azure, and the midnight stars become glittering gemstones set in obsidian. After a long, hot summer and a drier-than-average monsoon season, I’m also grateful for the unusually abundant early autumn rain we’ve received as two Pacific storms have passed through The Old Pueblo. And as always, I’m grateful to have good news to share with you in this October issue of your A 440 Newsletter. Enjoy!

Being Heard

The R. Carlos Nakai Trio will be heard from 6-9 PM on Friday October 4th at the world-renowned Heard Museum in Phoenix AZ, providing inspired musical atmosphere for the Heard’s monthly First Fridays event, in conjunction with our equally world-renowned record label Canyon Records.

more info at


photo courtesy Robert Doyle Photography / Canyon Records

Live Aloha

The R. Carlos Nakai Quartet will bring its global native fusion sound to Hawaii for a four-island tour presented by Global Media Productions on October 13th-19th. We’re re-imagining ourselves for these intimate concerts with a dynamic new acoustic approach to our repertoire, featuring material from our most recent album What Lies Beyond.

info & tickets at


Living River

R. Carlos Nakai & Will Clipman will perform a benefit concert for the Madrean Archipelago Wildlife Center at Casa de San Pedro in Hereford AZ on Friday November 1st from 3-5 PM as the kick-off for a weekend-long event in support of efforts to protect and preserve the San Pedro, Southeastern Arizona’s last free-flowing river.

more info at


photo courtesy Pamela Hyde / A’toka Arts Management

Graceful Space

The new Heart Dance Records album The Space Between Breaths by Sherry Finzer & Will Clipman dropped on September 20th and is already garnering rave reviews from listeners. This elemental trance groove soundscape is perfect for yoga, massage, meditation, dance, chant or simply the pleasure of deep listening to exquisite music. The CD debuted at #5 on Amazon Hot New Releases and continues to rank in the Top 50.

sample, download or order at



Vets Flutes

On Friday November 8th at 7 PM the R. Carlos Nakai Trio will perform a benefit concert for Flutes for Vets at Grace St. Paul’s Church in Tucson AZ.

info & tickets at


photo courtesy Robert Doyle Photography / Canyon Records

SunDog Twins

It’s entirely apropos that a Southwestern duo known as The SunDog Twins will play an exclusive Arizona show at Tucson’s iconic downtown music-and-art venue Solar Culture on Thursday November 21st at 8 PM, when Leon Littlebird & Will Clipman blend Native American flutes and acoustic guitars with world percussion in an enchanting evening of original songs and storytelling.

more info at


photo courtesy Joe Stone Photography

Woodside Wonders

Early December will find yours truly at the new Canyon Ranch Wellness Retreat in Woodside CA for a wonderful weekend of transformational experiences. The kick-off event is an intimate concert with Native American flute master R. Carlos Nakai at 7 PM on Thursday December 5th, followed by my Myths & Masks creative self-realization workshop on Friday-Sunday December 6-8.

workshop information & registration:

Myths & Masks

photo courtesy Robert Doyle Photography / Canyon Records

photo courtesy ICU Imagery

Magical Possibilities

Noted Arizona activist, educator, journalist and arts advocate Shea Stanfield has published a comprehensive yet up-to-the-minute article on the life and times of yours truly in The Foothills Focus, Arizona’s fastest-growing weekly newspaper.

Extra, extra, read all about it at


Photo of the Month

Harriet & Harry: The Look, photo courtesy Shery Christopher Photography

Poem of the Month

Exit Zero

There’s a big red heart

glowing in the sky above Exit Zero

at the New Mexico-Texas state line,

and just past the Love’s Travel Center

a billboard proclaims Jesus is alive

beyond any reasonable doubt

but I think forgive me, I doubt.


in ten-foot-tall electric-blue all-caps

are a few of the possible impossibilities

I pass by as I pass through El Paso

plunging headlong into wave after wave

of palpable sorrow, the fist-sized muscle

in my chest growing suddenly heavy

at the exit for Piedras Street, as if

even stones have souls and can hurt.

The exit for Patriot Freeway leads south

to the river, across which wave after wave

of those fleeing mayhem and murder

only to find more mayhem and murder

have waded north against the current.

In the reeds along the bank a young father

and baby daughter bob like ghastly buoys

marking a threshold no one dare cross.

A dark magus of ego is eating the world.

Wrapped in tinfoil on cold concrete

a child whispers I can’t feel my heart.

But for a dreamer even the death

of the dream is not the end of the story.

There’s no getting off this road now

for love or hate or any other reason,

no way forward but forgiveness

on this desolate stretch of I-10

where the limit is infinity plus zero:

nothing to do but what must be done,

nothing to be but the change that must come.

© Will Clipman 2019

~May your October be blessed with peace and prosperity~

Speak your truth and live your dream.

~Guillaume Henri

Will Clipman

poet ~ percussionist ~ maskmaker ~ storyteller ~ performing artist ~ educator