The Middle Distance

Greetings, One & All~

Sometimes our focus is only on what is right in front of us, or only on what is way off on the horizon; but perhaps it is best to focus on what is in the middle distance: that which is just beyond our immediate grasp, yet is realistically achievable. With that notion in mind, please enjoy all the good news in the March issue of your A 440 Newsletter!

RCNQ at Heard Museum

On Saturday March 4th at 1 PM and Sunday March 5th at noon, the R. Carlos Nakai Quartet will return to the Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair & Market in Phoenix AZ for two outdoor festival sets followed by meet-and-greets and CD-signings.

info and tickets at


photo by Shery Christopher / Prisma™ effects by Johnny Walker

What Lies Beyond #1. . .Times Two!

The new Canyon Records album What Lies Beyond by the R. Carlos Nakai Quartet begins March at #1 on the Mystic Sister Top Twenty Playlist for both of show host Annie Stillwater Gray’s home stations: WMHB-FM in Waterville ME and WXNZ-FM in Skowhegan ME. Thanks for spinning us to the top, Annie. . . time for another RCNQ New England tour?!

Arizona Alive!

Beginning on Monday March 6th and concluding on Monday March 27th, I’ll conduct my fifth annual Arizona Alive! Storytelling Artist-in-Residency with fourth grade students at Sonoran Sky School in Scottsdale AZ. Based on their studies of Arizona history (and prehistory) the students will research, compose and perform their own original myths, fables, tall tales, action adventures and “personal memoirs” to bring the story of Arizona to life. I can’t wait to see what flights of imagination this year’s Thunderbirds will take!

Liner Notes

On March 23rd between 3 PM and 5 PM I’ll join show host Gabriel Ayala on KPYT-FM for his Liner Notes show; we’ll be spinning tracks from the new RCNQ CD What Lies Beyond and discussing the creation of the album and the evolution of the band.

live-stream the show online at

5 Arts Circle

Arizona’s premier philanthropic organization supporting the arts

Inspired by the nature and culture of Arizona’s Sonoran Desert while embracing a global perspective, I’ll present an interactive evening of world music and mythopoetic storytelling for an intimate gathering of the 5 Arts Circle Board of Directors, Corporate Partners and prospective members in the foothills of the McDowell Mountains on the evening of Wednesday March 29th.

photo by Stephen Meckler

ZMR Nomination

The new Heart Dance Records CD Trialogue by Sherry Finzer, Darin Mahoney & Will Clipman is a Nominee for the Zone Music Reporter Awards in the Instrumental Acoustic Album category. Voted on by radio show hosts worldwide, the awards will be announced at a gala ZMR gathering in New Orleans LA on the weekend of May 12-13.

info & tickets at
ZMR Music Awards Live Show Nominees

Trialogue Spring Previews

Meanwhile, Trialogue will bring its original blend of classical-jazz flute, Americana guitar and world percussion to two of Southern Arizona’s best-loved concert venues: Ullman Terrace at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix on Friday April 7th at 7 PM, and the Community Performing Arts Center in Green Valley on Wednesday April 12th at 7 PM. These shows typically sell out, so advance tickets are highly recommended.

DBG Trialogue ticket link

DBG Trialogue Facebook link

Trialogue direct CPAC ticket link

General CPAC info link

photo collage by Shery Christopher

Jack Miller GRAMMY® Tribute

Kathy Norris, Director of Promotions at Canyon Records, created this “boxed set” of video tributes to the late, great GRAMMY-winning engineer Jack Miller for the 59th Annual GRAMMY® Awards telecast. I had the privilege and pleasure of working on thirty-four albums with Jack for Canyon Records, six of which–including my solo album Pathfinder–have received GRAMMY nominations over the years. I always referred to Jack as The Sonic Buddha for his impeccable musical ear, unimpeachable technical expertise and imperturbable personal equanimity. Jack was a master craftsman and a beautiful human being; he is fondly remembered and keenly missed.

photo courtesy Robert Doyle Photography/Canyon Records

Myth Has Its Own Logic

I love synchronicity and serendipity! On the afternoon of my recent Myths & Masks performance at Galactic Center here in Tucson, I received a Google® Alert from Kathy Norris at Canyon Records announcing the release of the song Mythologic from the album Dream of the Sun by the Albuquerque NM-based singer/songwriter Cole Raison, who had invited me a few years ago to come to Philadelphia PA (my birthplace) to record tracks for his new CD at Big Sky Audio. All of these interwoven storylines intersected on a Full Snow Moon, and I’d like to think the “coincidence” gave my performance that night a special mythic resonance.

listen to Mythologic at

Myths & Masks at Galactic Center / photo by Kati Astraeir

Nakai & Clipman on KXCI

R. Carlos Nakai and I were invited to record an episode of the Locals Only show on KXCI-FM to promote the recent Healing Power of Music event in Tucson. As you can tell from our wardrobe selection, we weren’t aware the show was also going to be video recorded for re-broadcast on Creative Tucson TV; our “perfect-for-radio” look notwithstanding, both the one-song video clip and the full audio interview are worth checking out.

video clip
(scroll down to the third post)

full audio interview

Locals Only – R. Carlos Nakai & Will Clipman

The Healing Power of Music. . . and Dance!

And as these video clips by Shery Christopher clearly show, the concert performance by the full R. Carlos Nakai Quartet turned out to be epic as well, when RC launched into his legendary Wallaby Dance and prompted a Gnu Queue Dance Party with the audience spontaneously joining us on stage!

The Wallaby Dance

The Gnu Queue Dancers

photo by Shery Christopher

RIP Bruce Tost

I got the news after my February newsletter had already gone out that renowned Tucson saxophonist and music educator Bruce Tost died on February 6th. Bruce was a big man with a big sound and a big heart. He and I played together in the late ’80’s and early ’90’s with The Ortskestra, an all-star ensemble that also included at different times Steve Roach, R. Carlos Nakai and William Eaton, and which accompanied live performances by Orts Theater of Dance, Tucson’s foremost modern dance company of that era. Bruce always brought a wry sense of humor, deep musical knowledge and an improvisational fearlessness to the proceedings; he was one of the good guys, and he will be missed.

photo courtesy

Poem of the Month

Coming full-circle to our lead-in, your March Poem of the Month attempts to render in words the actual experience that put me in mind of our theme. I had taken a short break from rehearsing my Myths & Masks show out in the studio here at Rancho Improvisoso, and happened to focus my attention on just the right point in space at just the right moment in time to witness this little epiphany. Enjoy!

In the Middle Distance

Between power lines in the foreground

and a passing military helicopter in the background

a red-tailed hawk teaches its offspring to hunt.

The middle distance fills with their effortless grace,

the small one mimicking the large one’s thermal dexterity,

both borne aloft on rivers of white desert cloud

with barely an occasional languid wing-flap.

Thus is the nature of things revealed: a moment

silent and still enough for equilibrium to be achieved;

neither grasping nor letting go, filling emptiness

to the brim and no further; horizon to horizon,

beginning to end, each step a dance, each breath a prayer.

Thus the world comes to us: just when we meant to do

something else terribly important, of so much less significance.

© Will Clipman 2017

Dream big and aim high;
stay grounded and reach for the sky!

Faith is trusting in what one hasn’t experienced;
belief is trusting in what one has experienced;
hope is trusting that faith will become belief.

~Guillaume Henri


Will Clipman

musician • poet • performing & recording artist • maskmaker • storyteller • educator

phone: 520.591.0776
fax: 520.743.0650

Thirteenth Moon

Greetings, One & All~

As we complete the lunar year and initiate a new cycle of thirteen moons, it’s fitting that the February issue of your A 440 Newsletter dispenses with chronological order and celebrates both significant endings and promising beginnings. Enjoy!

Governor’s Arts Awards Nomination

I’m humbled and honored to be a 2017 Arizona Governor’s Arts Awards Nominee in the Artist category. Perhaps my third nomination in this millennium will be a charm! You can view all the Nominees and learn more about the awards process at:

Myths & Masks at Galactic Center

On Friday February 10th at 7 PM I’ll present a rare performance of my Myths & Masks solo show, which features my original multicultural mask art, mythopoetic storytelling and live world music, in the cosmically groovy confines of Tucson’s coolest performance gallery Galactic Center. Rumor has it that some well-known local artists and performers may join me for some high-spirited improvisation, so this Gem Show special event will indeed be special! Tickets for this show are available at the door only; so while there are no bad seats in this intimate and comfortable venue, early arrival is recommended.


I’ll conclude my 20th annual Myths & Masks Artist-in-Residency at Cheyenne Traditional School on Friday February 3rd with our mini-showcases of student work, which as always has been inspired and inspiring. Many thanks to everyone at CTS for another wonder-filled M&M AiR!

The Healing Power of Music

On Monday February 6th at 9 PM I’ll appear with R. Carlos Nakai on KXCI Community Radio for three short sets of music interspersed with an interview to promote The Healing Power of Music. The show will be broadcast live on 91.3 FM and video-recorded for re-broadcast on Creative Tucson TV Channel 20.

live-streaming at

photo by Robert Doyle, courtesy of Canyon Records

On Friday February 17th we’ll appear on the KGUN-9 TV show Morning Blend to further promote this wonderful event.

Then on Friday February 24th at 7 PM, the R. Carlos Nakai Quartet will be among the featured performers at the actual event: The Healing Power of Music conference at the Berger Center for the Performing Arts in Tucson AZ.

info and tickets at

photo by Shery Christopher / Prisma™ effects by Johnny Walker

RCNQ at Mesa Arts Center

On Saturday February 11th at 7:30 PM I’ll be in concert with the R. Carlos Nakai Quartet at the Mesa Arts Center in Mesa AZ. RCNQ will perform selections from its new Canyon Records global native fusion release What Lies Beyond along with fan favorites from the classic Q repertoire.

info and tickets at

photo by Robert Doyle, courtesy of Canyon Records

What Lies Beyond can be sampled, downloaded and purchased at

Rave Review

Writing for Zone Music Reporter, noted contemporary instrumental music critic Bill Binkelman just penned this over-the-top take on the eponymous Heart Dance Records release by the acoustic trio Trialogue. Many thanks to Bill for his generosity toward our music, and in particular the kind words he has for yours truly: indeed, who needs a dialogue when you can have a trialogue?



Heart Dance Records

Flutist Sherry Finzer, best known (to ZMR followers) for her ambient/meditative music, e.g. her Sanctuary series and her excellent desert-themed recording with guitarist Darin Mahoney, Transformation, reveals a kick-up-yer-heels aspect to her musical persona on the energizing, delightful excursion into world beat/jazz fusion territory, Trialogue. Joining her are the aforementioned acoustic guitar wonder Mahoney and world-class percussionist and drummer Will Clipman. If you know anything about Clipman, you can well imagine the rhythmic party you are in for on this disc. However, what is a revelation is both Finzer’s and Mahoney’s talent across a variety of genres and styles of music beyond the haunting beauty of their collaboration on Transformation.

Part of that may be due to the influence of master-class drummer Clipman who has dazzled me with his percussive artistry back to the days when I first heard him as part of the William Eaton Ensemble. This man’s talent across a global-encompassing assortment of drums and percussion instruments is nothing short of amazing! Of course, Finzer is, as the saying goes, not chopped liver. She matches Clipman step for step, with ease I might add. And Mahoney, while he may not share the spotlight as often as his two co-stars, provides such solid support that his contributions cannot be minimized.

No matter what the mood, tempo, flavor or subgenre of any one track on Trialogue, the overall feeling I got every time I listened to this fantastic album is one of fun, the fun that artists who are truly tuned in and simpatico experience when their wavelengths intersect and merge. It’s apparent on the jazz fusion opener, “Code d’lvoire” with its “joie de vivre” sensibility and its carefree melody as well as on track two “Mending Fences” and its reflective guitar-driven opening which evolves into a soft rocking tune. “Midnight in Marrakech” pulses under Clipman’s sensual world beat rhythms on frame drum and Finzer’s sexy snaky flute lines, accented by Mahoney’s rhythm guitar work. Where “Confused” has an ambling melancholic feel to it, “Dark Horse” uses Finzer’s flute to paint a distinctly western musical landscapes, accented by Clipman’s trap kit drum underpinnings. “Top Down” has the breezy easy-going nature of the titular trip down highway 1 in a convertible Mustang GT – not too revved up but certainly movin’ down the road. The easy-going sound of “Thanks for Asking” speaks of three musicians who are not just on the same page but are of the same mind.

Trialogue is one of those recordings that I can reach for no matter my mood. It’s like a well-worn pair of sneakers—nondescript but oh so essential to my enjoying any trip I set out on: three artists who sync up and create musical magic, seamlessly merging jazz, world, and new age in a hybrid that provides hours of listening enjoyment. Who needs a dialogue when you can have a trialogue?

Bill Binkelman

Zone Music Reporter

Trialogue can be sampled, downloaded and purchased at

ZMR Awards

And speaking of Trialogue, we’re on the nominating ballot for this year’s Zone Music Reporter Awards in both the Instrumental-Acoustic Album and Album of the Year categories. The awards are voted on by radio programmers around the world who are part of the ZMR promotional network, many of whom have been playing music from our CD over the past nine months since its release. Thanks to all of you for spinning our tunes, and we welcome your support for these awards if you find our music worthy of your vote!

UK Radio Interview

One of the aforementioned programmers, Terry Hawke, interviewed me recently (and brilliantly) for his Hawke Chill Out Sessions show, which broadcasts around the world from the United Kingdom. For those of you who missed the live-stream, here’s a link to the archive:

Timeless Moments

In the mid-1980’s, after stints with Street Pajama, The Resistors, and Rainer & Das Combo, I joined the legendary Tucson band if. . .

Comprised of two Brits (Spanna and Darrel) and two Yanks (Dan and myself) if. . . played an original brand of melodic dance rock that quickly made it one of The Old Pueblo’s most sought-after club acts.

With socially, environmentally and spiritually conscious lyrics delivered in the crystal-clear voice of lead singer Spanna, fueled by the incendiary intergalactic guitar of Dan Hill, and propelled by the heart-pounding rhythm section of bassist Darrel Mayers and yours truly on drums, if. . . cultivated a cult following that remains enamored of its slender recorded oeuvre to this day, thirty years after Dan’s untimely death in 1987 at the age of twenty-seven and the inevitable dissolution of the band.

Two of our vintage ’80’s videos have recently come to light, courtesy of producer Charley Brown, and forwarded to Darrel in Austin TX and myself in Tucson AZ by Spanna on Oahu, HI; I wanted to share them with you here to honor Dan’s life and music as we approach the anniversary of his departure into the light, and also just because they’re really fun to watch and listen to–were we ever really that young? Enjoy!


Centre of the Echo

RIP Michael Diamond

And speaking of departures into the light: I just received the news that contemporary instrumental musician, composer, producer and music writer Michael Diamond died unexpectedly at the end of January. I didn’t know Michael well, but his recorded and written oeuvre is intelligent, sensitive and entertaining; and he was always gracious and generous to other musicians and their music. He was one of the good guys, and he will be missed.

Photo of the Month

Shery was out hiking with a friend last weekend and chanced upon this delightfully deformed saguaro. I’m loathe to impose sociopolitical projections on nature; but with our environment under renewed and redoubled assault just now, I can’t help but see in this upraised cactus “hand” a universally-recognized gesture of defiance. This is one prickly succulent who’s mad as heck and not taking it any more!

photo by Shery Christopher

Poem of the Month

I read recently that the exponentially accelerated rate and scope of human-influenced planetary change has led geologists to concur that we’re now in a new epoch, which they’re calling The Anthropocene. In the same issue of the same magazine, I also read a fascinating profile on the aerial photography of Edward Burtynsky, whose work renders large-scale industrial landscapes as disturbingly beautiful abstractions. That interface of science and art was just too juicy to pass up, so I penned this new Poem of the Month to explore this confluence further. I trust you’ll find it thought-provoking.

The Anthropocene

One for the ages!

Rock reveals our story

though far more slowly

than we’re writing it

and there’s the rub:

how to be human and

not part of the problem?

Those Burtynsky photos

in The New Yorker

both fascinate and disturb:

how does the aerial view

make actual catastrophe

appear abstractly gorgeous?

A koan for sages!

Those of us on the ground

drinking that opalescent water,

breathing that opaque air,

those of us with only

average intelligence

and limited resources—

what are we to make

of this obscene beauty

that draws us like moths

to the extinguishing flame?

Ignore these scalding tears

that blind our reason.

Just turn the pages!

© Will Clipman 2017

Make this new moon marvelous:
shine your own unique light
as only you can!

Ignorance and arrogance go hand in hand, as do wisdom and humility.

~Guillaume Henri


Will Clipman

musician • poet • performing & recording artist • maskmaker • storyteller • educator

phone: 520.591.0776
fax: 520.743.0650

A New Beginning

Greetings, One & All~

I for one was more than happy to send the old year up in sacred smoke and ring in the new year with time’s chimes. So with all best wishes for all the best to all in 2017, please enjoy these upcoming highlights in your January A 440 Newsletter!

UK Interview with Terry Hawke

I’ll start the new year on an international note with a live interview on the Hawke Chill Out Sessions radio show, which flies around the world from its home aerie in the United Kingdom. Wherever you roost, you can live-stream this far-reaching conversation between yours truly and host Terry James Hawke at one of these three links:

The show airs on Saturday January 7th at Midnight GMT (7 PM EST / 6 PM CST / 5 PM MST / 4 PM PST) and will feature selected cuts from my solo Canyon Records CD Pathfinder and my trio Heart Dance Records CD Trialogue with Sherry Finzer & Darin Mahoney interspersed throughout the interview.

Native American Festival with RCNQ

On Friday & Saturday, January 13th & 14th, I’ll land closer to home for a concert and festival set with the R. Carlos Nakai Quartet at the West Valley Native American Arts Festival in Litchfield Park AZ. The Friday night full concert is at 7 PM in Sachem Hall at the Wigwam Resort; the Saturday set will be on the festival grounds, time TBA.

New Kudos for What Lies Beyond

Meanwhile, the boundary-busting new global native fusion RCNQ album What Lies Beyond from Canyon Records continues to garner rave reviews, including this latest one by Angel Romero, writing for the world’s foremost on-line world music symposium World Music Central:

Nakai’s Southwestern Jams

Concert for Elders with Trialogue

On Monday January 16th at 7 PM, the contemporary instrumental trio Trialogue will perform a concert for elders in the Ballroom at Grandview Terrace in Sun City AZ, playing selections from their eponymous Heart Dance Records CD.

Awakening the Rillito Fire

On Sunday January 22nd from 9 AM-1 PM I’ll join R. Carlos Nakai to provide musical atmosphere for the Rillito Farmers Market. This newest addition to the panoply of Old Pueblo open-air markets features organic produce from local growers and artisanal products from regional craftspeople. Add homegrown Native American flutes and world percussion and it’s a don’t-miss Sunday morning outing down by the river!

Myths & Masks at Cheyenne Traditional School

From Monday January 23rd through Friday February 3rd I’ll return to Cheyenne Traditional School in Scottsdale AZ for my 20th annual Myths & Masks Artist-in-Residency. It’s become a rite of passage for the fourth grade students there, and I’m looking forward to a new crop of mythic persona poetry, wearable mask art, and of course our community showcase at Evening Under the Stars in the Spring.

Preview: Myths & Masks at Galactic Center

Looking ahead to next month: On Friday February 10th at 7 PM, in conjunction with the internationally-acclaimed Tucson Gem & Mineral Show, I’ll present a rare concert performance of Myths & Masks at Galactic Center in Tucson AZ. Tickets will be $10 at the door only for this don’t-miss evening of mythopoetic storytelling, world music and original mask art, all in the Old Pueblo’s most intergalactically groovy art gallery!

Preview: RCNQ & The Healing Power of Music

And looking a bit further ahead into next month: the R. Carlos Nakai Quartet will make a rare hometown concert appearance as part of The Healing Power of Music conference at the Berger Center for the Performing Arts in Tucson AZ on Friday February 24th at 7 PM.

info and advance tickets are available at:

Photos of the Month

One Sunday morning over the winter solstice holiday I happened to be doing some dishes and looking out our Window on the Wild when this gorgeous trickster leapt into the frame after one of our bunnies; failing to catch one (whew!) it decided it might as well quench its thirst with a cold drink from our standing water bowl. Shery happened to have her phone-cam in hand and leapt into the frame to capture these spontaneous snapshots. Enjoy!

Poem of the Month

It was a challenging and difficult holiday season for us here at Rancho Improvisoso. I found daily inspiration and hope in the blessings of our abundant wild nature, especially the fierce joy with which our tribe of indigenous hummingbirds conduct their winter magic. This January Poem of the Month is an ode of gratitude for all the silver linings that outshine the dark clouds. Enjoy!

Infinitesimal Vastness

Inches from my nose the thunderous drum of your heart

beats within the iridescent shimmer of your emerald breast;

the breeze of your wings as they carve infinity out of thin air

fans my hands that hold the cold fresh nectar in a mason jar.

I’d love for you to grip my finger with those tiny talons

or flick my face with your Quetzalcoatl tongue; alas

your obsidian eyes bore into mine with untouchable ferocity

and you keep the infinitesimal vastness between us inviolate.

© Will Clipman 2017

Embrace possibility and be of good cheer:
it’s a brand new day and a brand new year!

Hopeful voices harmonize most beautifully when hope is all we have.

~Guillaume Henri


Will Clipman

musician • poet • performing & recording artist • maskmaker • storyteller • educator

phone: 520.591.0776
fax: 520.743.0650

The Longest Night & the Return of the Light

Greetings, One & All~

As we approach the longest night of the year and the return of the light, many of us around the world may fear this particular winter solstice will be longer, darker and colder than any in recent memory; some of us may even despair of the light returning at all. I confess I’ve entertained those feelings myself.

But perhaps it’s all the more reason to find inspiration in the beauty of wild nature and in the boundless resiliency and creativity of human nature; to hold our family, friends and loved ones all the closer and cherish them all the more fiercely; to embrace our work with renewed dedication and passion, and relish our play with child-like delight.

I’d like to offer this last A 440 Newsletter of 2016 with the awareness that darkness defines light, and in the belief that a bright new day will surely follow even the longest, coldest night.

And so, some year-end good news!

Nerve Chorus Top Ten Release

My search for a turntable on which to spin the 7″ vinyl re-release of Nerve Chorus on the German label VOD has been redoubled now that my debut 1985 cassette-only recording has landed in the Vinyl Factory Top Ten for November:

The 10 best vinyl releases this week (7th November)

And again, there’s a FREE autographed copy in it for the first adventurous audiophile who comes forward with tone-arm extended!

Heart Dance Holidays

I’ll close out the 2016 concert calendar with two Trialogue performances at the Mesa Arts Festival on the grounds of the Mesa Arts Center in (you guessed it) Mesa AZ from 12:30-1:15 PM and again from 1:30-2:15 PM on Sunday December 11th; and a Christmas From the Heart concert featuring Trialogue plus a stellar cast of other Heart Dance Records stars at Tucson Premium Outlets Mall in Marana AZ on December 24th from noon-3 PM. Come on out and stuff those stockings with some of this year’s most beautiful sounds!

A Very Merry Myths & Masks

This week I’m wrapping up my 2016 Myths & Masks Artist-in-Residency at Sonoran Sky School: we’re putting the final touches on our Mythic Persona Poems, painting and sculpting our masks, and presenting our community showcases of student work on Friday December 9th. I’m still working on my own mask and poem, but I’ve decided my persona will be The Tarantula of Truth, in honor of this handsome little fellow who boldly strolled through our outdoor workshops at SSky Camp not once, not twice but three times–and you know, the third time’s a charm!

Lifetime Arts

As part of its year-end initiative to broaden the appeal of its programming, Lifetime Arts invited Roster Artists to share some thoughts on the importance of our work with elders. You can enjoy mine and a host of others by clicking on the individual artist photos at:

The Importance of Teaching Artists

Photo of the Month

Shery Christopher captured this impressionistic brush-stroking of clouds just as the setting sun dipped below the Tucson Mountains on Thanksgiving: all natural color and light, with an incredibly detailed silhouette of cholla thorns etched in the lower right–why can’t I do this with my iPhone?!

Poem of the Month

Having started playing drums at the age of three and writing poetry at the age of six, it’s always been self-evident to me that language is rhythm and rhythm is language. This December Poem of the Month is an attempt to bring sound into harmonious balance with meaning, so that one feels the inner music of the words intuitively at least as much if not more than one thinks about the message intellectually. I hope you enjoy reading and listening to it as much as I enjoyed hearing it and writing it down!

Words & Music

Sui generis

and surely the loveliest of words

along with yes

the susurrus of Sonora is

a sibilant source of sustenance:

this morning’s rush hour shush

augmented by a mourning dove’s lament

completes the rumbling harmony

of a distant freight train’s whistling weight;

the glowing hum of sunbeams through the blind

accentuates the silent voices: dust motes rise

through slatted shadow in one swelling choral note

and I rise one more time to greet this day,

insouciantly saying yes to simply being

and writing down in words the music nature wrote.

© Will Clipman 2016

Be of good cheer,

and all the best to you and yours

in the coming new year!

Mindful cooperation will inevitably trump mindless confrontation.

~Guillaume Henri


Will Clipman

musician • poet • performing & recording artist • maskmaker • storyteller • educator

phone: 520.591.0776
fax: 520.743.0650

Prime Time

Greetings, One & All~

Having wandered in this high desert for nigh on forty years now, I can share from long experience that the season between the autumnal equinox and the winter solstice is prime time in Northern Sonora. As much as I’d prefer to be recreating outdoors, an abundance of good news compels me to come inside out of this gorgeous weather long enough to compose and send the November issue of your A 440 Newsletter.

It’s a tad early this month, for reasons revealed anon!


Trialogue (Sherry Finzer, Darin Mahoney & Will Clipman: Heart Dance Records) and What Lies Beyond (R. Carlos Nakai Quartet: Canyon Records) are on the First Ballot for the 59th GRAMMY® Awards. Voting Members of the Recording Academy will find us in the Contemporary Instrumental Album category, and we welcome your support if you find our music worthy of your vote.

Leon Littlebird & Will Clipman

Rocky Mountain troubadour and raconteur Leon Littlebird will bring his Border-to-Border Tour to Arizona for a concert with yours truly in Tucson’s most inspired and inspiring performance gallery Galactic Center on Saturday October 29th at 8 PM.

Tickets are available at the door only and early arrival is recommended!

Becoming One with Your Inner Drum

On Saturday November 5th from 10 AM-4 PM in the Kiva Room at Western National Parks Association in Oro Valley AZ, I’ll conduct the latest iteration of my ever-evolving Planet of Percussion world music workshop: Becoming One With Your Inner Drum explores the uniquely personal relationship between drummer and drum, centered on the concept that YOU are your own most wonderful instrument, and is open to players of all skill levels. An order-in lunch will be provided by WNPA between our morning and afternoon sessions; participants are invited and encouraged but not required to bring a favorite drum or percussion instrument to supplement my pan-global palette–all necessary instruments will be provided by yours truly!

Enrollment is limited and advance registration is required at:

National Parks Store: Becoming One With Your Inner Drum

Udu Voodoo at Rancho Improvisoso

Pursuant to our public workshop, I’ll offer private master classes with a focus on the udu (or to paraphrase Cole Porter: udu that voodoo that you do so well!) in my studio here at Rancho Improvisoso on Sunday November 6th & Monday November 7th from 1-3 PM each day. Enrollment for these intimate, interactive sessions is limited to six participants at $50 per hour and is by prior arrangement with yours truly only.

Please contact me via my website for details and directions at:

RCNQ Video on the Canyon Channel

The brand-new one-minute promotional video for the R. Carlos Nakai Quartet from CFProductions can now be viewed on the Canyon Records Channel at:

*You’ve GOT to check out RC doing the Wallaby Dance!

RCNQ In-Store Event

On Saturday November 12th at 7 PM the R. Carlos Nakai Quartet will appear at Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe AZ for an intimate mini-concert and CD-signing to launch their new Canyon Records release What Lies Beyond. Priority seating begins one hour before the show, and these FREE events are almost always SRO, so early arrival is strongly recommended!

For further information please call 480.730.0205

RCNQ Concerts

On Saturday November 19th at 7 PM the Q will perform a full concert at the Vail Theatre of the Arts in Vail AZ.

Advance tickets for this show can be reserved at:

And on Wednesday November 30th at 7 PM we’ll perform a full concert at the Green Valley Community Performing Arts Center in Green Valley AZ.

Advance tickets for this show can be reserved at:

Myths & Masks at Sonoran Sky

Beginning on Monday November 21st and continuing through Friday December 9th I’ll return to Sonoran Sky in Scottsdale AZ for my 22nd consecutive annual Myths & Masks Artist-in-Residency. We’ll refresh the AiR with two days of nature-inspired outdoor Mythic Persona Poetry workshops at SSky Camp in Prescott AZ on Wednesday & Thursday November 16th & 17th, then return to school for maskmaking, painting, 3D sculpturing and community showcase performances of our completed work.

Nerve Chorus on Vinyl

The delightfully improbable dream of my 1985 cassette-only release Nerve Chorus being reissued as 7″ vinyl on the German label VOD has come true! You can order your copy of this Limited Edition of 444 pressings, with numbered certificate, at:

*Now all I have to do is find someone with a turntable so I can listen to mine–there’s a FREE autographed copy in it for you if anyone out there would like to help me out!

Poem of the Month

These days I feel like Dorothy at the end of The Wizard of Oz: for me, there really is no place like home. This freshly-minted Poem of the Month celebrates the wonders to be found in one’s own yard and neighborhood, and seeks therein the patience, strength and wisdom to finish each day a little better than one started it. Enjoy!

Olive Tree

Outside my kitchen window

in bas-relief against black lava rock

your pollen-dusted canopy is tossed

by autumn desert wind.

May you live a thousand years

like those in Etna’s rich volcanic soil

I mused about one afternoon

over a bottomless bottle of inexpensive red

with my Sicilian neighbor, who

nearly blind and deaf at eighty-seven,

still brings paint and clay

so patiently to life each day.

May I grow gradually wiser

watering your gnarled roots,

acquire by proximity the gentle strength

of his tough heart, soft hands.

© Will Clipman 2016

May your month be filled

with the extraordinary pleasures

of ordinary treasures

Joy increases and sorrow diminishes when shared.

~Guillaume Henri


Will Clipman

musician • poet • performing & recording artist • maskmaker • storyteller • educator

phone: 520.591.0776
fax: 520.743.0650

Black Moon Rising

Greetings, One & All~

Black Moon sounds ominous, but the occurrence of two new moons in one calendar month–much more rare than the Blue Moon occurrence of two full moons–is actually cause for celebration, as it represents renewal, wiping the old slate clean and being open to the fulfillment of new dreams and possibilities. In that positive spirit, enjoy this October issue of your A 440 Newsletter!

Leon Littlebird & Will Clipman at Galactic Center

Leon Littlebird and Will Clipman first met in 2012 as “Floating Artists-in-Residence” on a two-week Ancestral Voices of the Grand Canyon rafting expedition on the Colorado River. Their simpatico was immediate: not only did the mountain troubadour and the desert drummer become fast friends; they discovered an innate ability to improvise and compose together. This led to a magical post-expedition concert at Coconino Center for the Arts in Flagstaff, followed (perhaps inevitably, given their incessant individual performing and recording schedules) by a two-year divergence. Leon and Will always kept in touch, though, and kept the dream of further musical and spiritual adventures alive. Their duo concert at Tucson’s Galactic Center at 8 PM on Saturday October 29, 2016 marks the resumption of their dynamic collaboration.

What Lies Beyond

The eagerly-anticipated new R. Carlos Nakai Quartet album What Lies Beyond was officially released on September 23rd and is now available directly from Canyon Records at

or from Google Play at

or from Amazon at

or, for those of you who frequent my website, at

WLB is also an iTunes New World Music featured title!

The Trialogue Continues

With international airplay now nearing 100 radio shows, the new Trialogue album from Heart Dance Records also continues to elicit rave reviews in the music press, like this most recent one from Blue Wolf Reviews:


Having logged its fifth straight month on the Zone Music Reporter Top 100 chart, the Trialogue will continue on Tuesday October 11th at 7 PM with a private concert at Friendship Village in Tempe AZ.


First-round GRAMMY® ballots will be mailed out on October 14th, and both What Lies Beyond and Trialogue have been submitted in the Contemporary Instrumental Album* category. For those of you who are NARAS Voting Members, we appreciate your consideration, and your vote if your find our music worthy of your support. For those of you who are not, we appreciate your positive energy and best wishes.

*Selection committees have been known to re-assign submissions to different categories; please review your entire ballot carefully, and please vote responsibly!

New #iamHUMAN Videos

As a way of contributing to and collaborating with Roman Orona’s #iamHUMAN video series, I’ve made my studio here at Rancho Improvisoso available to Roman for Tucson shoots. On Wednesday October 5th, Roman will shoot two new installments, one with Tucson bon vivant and cultural personality Anne Geren and one with Native American flutist, composer, cultural anthropologist and performing & recording artist R. Carlos Nakai. As an introduction to Roman’s groundbreaking work, my clip can be viewed at

November Previews

On Saturday November 5th from 10 AM-4 PM I’ll return to the Kiva Room at Western National Parks Association in Oro Valley AZ for the latest installment of my world drumming & percussion workshop series: Becoming One With Your Inner Drum.

Early registration is recommended at

National Parks Store: Becoming One With Your Inner Drum

I will also conduct private master classes at my studio here at Rancho Improvisoso on Sunday & Monday November 6th & 7th.

On Saturday November 12th at 7 PM the R. Carlos Nakai Quartet will appear at Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe AZ for a mini-concert and CD-signing event in conjunction with Canyon Records Productions. Seating is limited and these shows are always SRO, so arriving early is recommended.

RCNQ will perform full concerts at the Vail Theater of the Arts in Vail AZ on Saturday November 19th at 7 PM and at the Green Valley Community Performing Arts Center in Green Valley AZ on Wednesday November 30th at 7 PM.

Advance tickets for the Vail show are now available at

Advance tickets for the Green Valley show are now available at

Turning Over a New Leaf

My interview with vegan advocate Solvei McKenna was recently published on her new website VeganGreen. This wide-ranging, uplifting and entertaining conversation can be viewed at

Video of the Month

I just received this video clip from the R. Carlos Nakai & Will Clipman duo concert at Jorma Kaukonen’s Fur Peace Ranch last year and thought you might enjoy a little taste of Awakening the Fire–I only wish the clip showed Jorma’s encore jam with us!

Poem of the Month

I’m at work on a brand new poem about tonight’s Black Moon, but it’s not ready for prime-time; so I’ve mined the archives for this succinctly seasonal meditation on the nature of forgiveness to close your October A 440. Enjoy!

The Fall

I love the light of autumn:

the fall from grace

through space and into place,

a season between extremes

when we forgive each other and ourselves

for all we have and have not done,

and prepare together

for the darkness and cold to come.

© 2016 Will Clipman (from Wilderness in the Marrow; originally published in Heron Dance)

~May your new moon fill with bright light

and may your autumn be filled with new adventures~

A preemptive strike with kindness will often disarm a hostile confrontation.

~Guillaume Henri


Will Clipman

musician • poet • performing & recording artist • maskmaker • storyteller • educator

phone: 520.591.0776
fax: 520.743.0650

A Sizzling September

Greetings, One & All~

As the sun arcs lower across the southern sky and our little oasis in space approaches its Autumnal Equinox, our thoughts turn to cooler, dryer weather, and all the subtle surprises of Fall in Northern Sonora; yet even in the dog days of summer, as is often the case in Willyworld, there is an array of bright events shimmering on the horizon. Enjoy them all in joy with the September issue of your A 440 Newsletter!

Wilde Boys in Reno

The Nakai, Eaton & Clipman trio will set up base camp in Reno NV on September 13-15 for a series of mini-performances, master classes and lecture-demonstrations at the University of Nevada and in area schools and libraries, culminating with a full concert at the Nightengale Concert Hall on the UNR campus at 7 PM on Thursday September 15th.

tickets & info at

POP Goes Scottsdale

I’ll conduct my Planet of Percussion world music workshop on Saturday September 17th at the Appaloosa Library in Scottsdale AZ and again on Thursday September 29th at the Civic Center Library, from 10:30 AM-12:30 PM both days.

contact for more info

Trialogue + Temenos Quartet Equinox Concert

I’ll celebrate the Autumnal Equinox on Thursday September 22nd with the don’t-miss double bill of contemporary instrumental trio Trialogue from Phoenix and Tucson’s own folk-funk-fusion foursome Temenos Quartet at Monterey Court from 7-10 PM, featuring yours truly on drums & percussion with both bands!

info & tickets at

Healing From the Ground Up with Myths & Masks

It’s been brought to my attention that this benchmark Myths & Masks interview with shamanic healer Leslie Gray of the Woodfish institute, produced by Lori Greenleaf for the program Healing From the Ground Up, is now available on YouTube:

Your personal copy of the Myths & Masks DVD can be obtained at

RCNQ: What Lies Beyond

The official street date for the new R. Carlos Nakai Quartet album What Lies Beyond is September 23rd, including iTunes and Amazon. On that date, you can order your personal copy of the physical CD (or get your digital download with a FREE iTunes Bonus Track) of this barrier-blasting, ground-breaking, dance-floor-filling, trance-inducing new Global Native Fusion™ release at:

‘Tis the Season to Go GRAMMY®

Your humble Holder of the Heartbeat has two new titles going to The Big Dance this GRAMMY® cycle: the aforementioned What Lies Beyond with the R. Carlos Nakai Quartet on Canyon Records, and Trialogue with Sherry Finzer, Darin Mahoney & Will Clipman on Heart Dance Records.

As I try to make clear every year, submissions DO NOT equal nominations: the five Nominees in each category will be determined by the first-round ballot; then on to the award itself, to be determined by the final ballot. That said, your positive energy is warmly welcomed even at this early stage of the process!

Nerve Chorus Still Singing?!

In the Completely Out-of-the-Blue-from-Deep-in-Left-Field category comes the news that my very first solo recording, the 1985 cassette-only release Nerve Chorus, is being re-issued as 7″ vinyl by the German label VOD Records. This proto-funk-punk-rap worldbeat project is in post-production pending a late September release.

info at

Video of the Month

Who says it’s always hot and dry in Tucson? This one-minute clip of an epic monsoon deluge here at Rancho Improvisoso proves otherwise!

Poem of the Month

As befits the autumnal mood of the coming season, your September Poem of the Month is a quiet reflection on the nature of love, loss and longing; and on how the essence of emotion is alchemized in the healing crucible of time. Enjoy!

Merlyn’s Alchemy

Yesterday we brought your ashes home;

last night you came to me in dream:

gamboling through house and yard

with your full-throated healthy joy.

How can it be that you’ve left the body

that no longer served you, yet live

so vividly in memory? It must be

in the nature of death’s mystery:

how grief transmutes to grace

and loss becomes fulfillment.

I have you back, whole and intact,

but still your spirit is forever free;

I can let you go completely now

and yet I never have to let you go.

© Will Clipman 2016

May your only labors this holiday weekend be labors of love!

If you’re chasing someone else’s tail
you’re not following your own nose.

~Guillaume Henri


Will Clipman

musician • poet • performing & recording artist • maskmaker • storyteller • educator

phone: 520.591.0776
fax: 520.743.0650

A Whole New World

Greetings, One & All~

The 8th month makes me think of infinity–the 8 lying down to sleep and dream, so to speak–and of the way each ending is also a new beginning. Here in Northern Sonora, August is a month of intense heat and vast stillness, broken intermittently by earth-shaking thunder, sky-rending lightning and torrential rain: a time of extremes, of endings and beginnings. May you find a middle way between beginning and ending in this issue of your A 440 Newsletter and indeed on the path of life itself: the continuous curve of infinity between stasis and chaos.

Read on: good news lies ahead!


My fellow Canyon Records artist Roman Orona contacted me out of the blue recently about serving as a subject for his #iamHUMAN video project: a series of one-minute vignettes that tell the stories of people from all walks of life regardless of age, race, ethnicity, culture, gender, socioeconomic status, belief system or political persuasion–in their own voices and with their own selection of visual imagery–in a way that reveals our core humanity and makes our diversity something to embrace and celebrate rather than to fear and denigrate.

photo courtesy Charly Heavenrich Photography

Naturally, I jumped at the chance to be a part of this project: nothing could be more timely or necessary at this moment in human history than Roman’s vision and message. I hope you’ll view my clip at as a gateway to the entire #iamHUMAN video portfolio and to Roman’s creative world.

Rocking the Sanctuary with Sacred Dance

When R. Carlos Nakai invited me to perform an evening of Music as Spiritual Manifestation with him in the temple at Tara Mandala I envisioned a contemplative evening of meditative sound. While there was plenty of that in our Awakening the Fire concert on July 9th, imagine my delight when a message from Lama Tsultrim Allione herself was whispered in my ear right before our finale to pump it up!

We were more than happy to oblige, and closed out a transformational evening of music with an extended dance jam that had the entire packed house polishing the beautiful wooden floor of the sanctuary to a high gloss with their bare feet.

Among the many memorable accolades showered on us at the post-concert meet-and-greet, one stood out for its uniqueness and originality: one of the ringleaders of our “Soul Train Dance-Off” dubbed us The Bad-Asses of Sound–so much for staid and stuffy stereotypes!

Awakening the Fire at the feet of the Golden Tara

RCNQ Tour Dates & Deets

The new R. Carlos Nakai Quartet album What Lies Beyond is finished and scheduled for retail release in mid-August, and the band is hitting the road to bring this incredible music to live audiences and seed the clouds with the first run of the physical CD:

on Wednesday August 17th we’ll be at eTownHall in Boulder CO: tickets & info at or 303.443.8696;

on Thursday August 18th we’ll be at the Rialto Theater in Loveland CO: tickets & info at or 970.962.2120;

on Saturday August 20th we’ll be at the Four Corners School in Monticello UT: tickets & info at or 970.243.8497;

and on Sunday August 21st we’ll be at the Durango Arts Center in Durango CO: tickets & info at or 970.259.2606.

RCNQ photo courtesy Shery Christopher Photography

TQ Studio Dates & Deets + Zocalo Feature

Temenos Quartet will return to Saint Cecilia Studios on August 1st & 2nd to record and mix the final four songs for its debut album Forecast with master engineer Steven Lee Tracy. Noted Tucson music writer, musician and impresario Jim Lipson will be popping in to document our process and preview the music for his double-feature article on Forecast and the new Trialogue CD for the September issue of the Old Pueblo’s coolest culture magazine Zocalo.

Holding Court

Thanks to all the wining-and-dining dancers who packed the tables, filled the floor, and made our Ambient Funk premiere at Monterey Court such a funky good time!

Ambient Funk photo courtesy Shery Christopher Photography

While that magical evening is fresh in your minds, mark your calendars for Thursday September 22nd: a Monterey Court double-bill with Trialogue & Temenos Quartet. Yours truly will on drums and percussion with both bands for double the dancing fun!

Tickets & info at or 520.207.2429

Temenos Quartet photo courtesy PJ McArdle Photography

Trialogue photo courtesy J. Peter Mortimer Photography

And speaking of this year’s break-out contemporary instrumental trio, the latest in a virtual avalanche of airplay, rave reviews, chart placements and other accolades is this excellent exegesis by renowned music writer Bill Binkelman in Insight Magazine:


Sherry Finzer, Darin Mahoney, Will Clipman

Heart Dance Records

Renowned cross-genre flutist Sherry Finzer and guitarist Darin Mahoney made one of the more enjoyable albums of 2013, Transformation, a superb blend of desert ambiance and new age melodicism. On Trialogue, the pair team up with world-class drummer and percussionist Will Clipman and the results are every bit as spectacular as Transformation with the added pizzazz of Clipman’s superb rhythms layered over Finzer’s flutes and Mahoney’s guitars. Here, the mood is less subdued than on Transformation as the music touches on jazz (“Cote d’Ivoire,” “Top Down”), folk rock (“Dark Horse”) and world beat (“Midnight in Marrakech”), among other styles. It’s a superb cruising-down-the-highway listen.

Bill Binkelman

Retailing Insight magazine

Nerve Chorus Vinyl Re-Issue

Talk about a blast from the past? Out of the blue, I recently received a request from Frank Bull at Vinyl-on-Demand, a German label that specializes in re-issuing vintage ’70’s & ’80’s cassette-only recordings, for permission to re-issue my very first solo recording Nerve Chorus as 7-inch vinyl!

After rubbing my eyes in disbelief that anyone still had a copy, let alone listened to it and loved it, I jumped at the chance to have this crazy proto-funk-punk-rap concoction made available to vinyl connoisseurs around the world.

I’ll keep you posted as this totally improbable opportunity progresses, but meanwhile here’s a scan Frank sent me of the original hand-drawn J-card from 1985, which I believe he’s going to adapt for the re-issue cover art. Yikes!

RIP Merlyn

On July 22nd our beloved animal companion and spirit guide Merlyn left his body. He was our Buddha Bear, our Druid Dog, our Little Joy Boy. He lived a full life, loved well and was well-loved. We miss him more than words can say, yet feel his presence every day.

photo courtesy Shery Christopher Photography

Poem of the Month

If you are as weary as I am of the bullying, bigotry and braggadocio that dominates our public discourse these daze, you may find–as I did in writing it–some respite and revitalization in reading the August Poem of the Month: a quiet meditation on the strength and endurance it takes to embody peace and tranquility in a violent and chaotic world. Here’s to potentiality and possibility, in the present and for the future.

A Whole New World

Never mistake

a peaceful nature

for weakness.

The mother dove

motionless on her nest

in the eave of the ramada

absolutely alert all day

in the broiling heat

is an avatar of strength.

She is not afraid of you!

She feels

the vast stillness

that awaits us all.

She hears

the deafening silence

beyond our noise.

Inside her egg

a whole new world


© Will Clipman 2016

Photos of the Month

And coming full circle (or full figure-8, or full-infinity loop) I’d like to close with a triptych of gorgeous images by Shery Christopher that capture the endless cycle of beginnings, new growth and endings in a uniquely Rancho Improvisoso way.

Monsoon Sunrise courtesy Shery Christopher Photography

New Saguaro Arm courtesy Shery Christopher Photography

Monsoon Sunset courtesy Shery Christopher Photography

~Enjoy the daily miracles
abounding in your own backyard~

There is no what if;
there is only what is.

~Guillaume Henri


Will Clipman

musician • poet • performing & recording artist • maskmaker • storyteller • educator

phone: 520.591.0776
fax: 520.743.0650

Mythic Moments for July

Greetings, One & All~

On July 20th, 1969 earthlings first set foot on the moon. That also happened to be my 15th birthday, so this event has always been indelibly etched in my imagination as a mythic moment. While the events in your July A 440 Newsletter are perhaps somewhat less momentous, I trust you’ll find them entertaining and uplifting nonetheless!

Music as Spiritual Manifestation

R. Carlos Nakai & Will Clipman will offer a very special evening of music as spiritual manifestation at Tara Mandala on Saturday July 9th at 8 PM:

Info, tickets & directions at:

R. Carlos Nakai and Will Clipman in Concert

photo courtesy Robert Doyle Photography/Canyon Records

Ambient Funk Premiere

Ambient Funk will present its premiere performance at Monterey Court on Sunday July 24th from 6-9 PM. Drawing its name from a repertoire that spans the sonic spectrum from cool listening to hot dancing, this versatile trio features AmoChip Dabney on keyboards, saxophones and lead vocals; Johnny Walker on bass and backing vocals; and Will Clipman on drums, world percussion and backing vocals.

More info on this event at:

photo courtesy Shery Christopher Photography

What Lies Beyond

The first new R. Carlos Nakai Quartet album in ten years is mixed and ready to master at Canyon Records. Featuring the aforementioned threesome topped off with a heapin’ helpin’ of The Maestro himself, RCNQ dishes up a delicious menu of global native fusion on What Lies Beyond guaranteed to satisfy the most discerning musical palette. Stay tuned to your A 440 for a late-summer release date and tour details.

photo courtesy Robert Doyle Photography/Canyon Records

On the Charts

Trialogue moved up two spots to #6 on the latest Zone Music Reporter chart:

New Media

Music writer Robert Martin has set a new benchmark for in-depth excellence with his remarkable review of Trialogue on Gaia Prime–to say we’re honored, humbled and happy to receive such praise would be a huge understatement.

Review of “Trialogue” by Sherry Finzer, Darin Mahoney, and Will Clipman

Producer and show host Ignacio Bahillo of Musicas Imaginadas in Madrid, Spain has played multiple songs from Trialogue on his radio program and now also features the video for the album’s opening cut Cote d’Ivoire on his world music podcast.

click and scroll down to play:

On the Air

Trialogue has now been played on seventy radio shows and counting, throughout the US as well as in the UK, the Netherlands, Canada, Australia and Spain, with every song on the album having been spun multiple times–it’s hard to pick one hit, but this reviewer on the Improvijazzation site likes Midnight in Marrakech the best:

Issue # 162 reviews

This just in: Trialogue will kick off July with another featured appearance on Echoes, the world’s leading ambient music radio show, with renowned producer and show host John Diliberto TONIGHT Friday July 1st:

And the intrepid Sherry Finzer (who doubles as Trialogue multi-flutist extraordinaire and President/CEO of Heart Dance Records) has also placed us on a streaming station, for those of you more technologically adept than yours truly (aka, Professor LoTech):

In the Studio

Temenos Quartet will be back in the studio in early August to finish tracking and mixing its debut album Forecast at Saint Cecilia Studios. The limited-edition six-song EP has sold out, so expectations are high for the complete 10-song LP!

Fall Stage Preview

Trialogue and Temenos Quartet will kick off the Fall concert season with a double bill at Monterey Court on the Autumnal Equinox Thursday September 22nd at 7 PM. Each band will play a long set and then close out the evening with an encore combo jam, with yours truly holding the heartbeat throughout the entire evening!

photo courtesy J. Peter Mortimer

photo courtesy Pj McArdle

Fall Workshop Now Open

Building on the success of last Fall’s Beauty & the Beats world drumming workshop at Western National Parks Association, registration is now open for this Fall’s Becoming One with Your Inner Drum at:

National Parks Store: Becoming One With Your Inner Drum

Poem of the Month

As the new moon follows the full, so your July A 440 Newsletter returns to the mythic moment whence it began. This Poem of the Month tries to recapture the boundless belief and endless possibility of youth that all too often eludes us as we enter the latter stages of our journey on Earth, with a touch of ironic humor to lighten the way.

The Tang of Truth

I sipped the ice-cold Tang of truth

on the evening my fifteenth birthday

as earthlings first set foot on the moon,

and the grainy black-and-white boot prints

left in lifeless dust became indelibly ingrained

in my imagination as a mythic event:

no longer would that perfect cool white orb

make werewolves of mere men or bathe

death-pale vampires in its holy light;

no more would its thirteen ancient iterations

hold sway against the bloody tides of history,

no more its magic work against religion’s curse.

I came of modern age that fateful night

and took a half a century of lunacy

to make my way back to original wisdom.

Tonight, on the occasion of this rare coincidence

between the summer solstice and the full moon,

I’ll embrace the longest day and trace

the sun’s ultimate arc across the desert sky,

greet my muse as she ascends into the gathering dark

and try to recollect the broken fragments of belief.

The cereus will bloom according to their secret plan,

coyotes scat their dissonant celebratory jazz.

The awe-struck boy will live again inside the man.

~with thanks to Laurie Nikolski for the title

© Will Clipman 2016

Photo of the Month

And a picture sometimes being worth a thousand words, I’d like to leave you with a mythic visual moment: a gorgeous monsoon sunrise captured by Shery Christopher.

photo courtesy Shery Christopher Photography

~May your summer be blessed with many mythic moments~

Writers write not because we are convinced we have something important to say but simply because we love the act of writing.

~Guillaume Henri


Will Clipman

musician • poet • performing & recording artist • maskmaker • storyteller • educator

office: 520.743.1347
mobile: 520.591.0776
fax: 520.743.0650

Sonoran Summer Solstice Salutations

Greetings, One & All~

As we approach the summer solstice and the longest day of the solar year, I’m reminded never to let an I love you or a thank you go unsaid. We always think there will be another chance to show affection and appreciation, but sometimes there isn’t. Enjoy every precious moment, and enjoy all the good news in this issue of your A 440 Newsletter!

Teaching Artist of the Month

I’m humbled and honored to share the news that I’ve been selected as the Lifetime Arts Teaching Artist of the Month for June, in recognition of my work with the Creative Aging initiative at the Chandler Downtown Library, where I conducted my Myths & Masks and Planet of Percussion workshops. You can read an interview with yours truly find out more about the award and this excellent national organization at:

Teaching Artist of the Month: June 2016

Will & Mythic Friends

In a Word

I’ll return to Chandler Downtown Library to complete my workshop trilogy with In a Word on Saturday June 25th from 10-11:30 AM. You can pre-register for this all-genres, multi-age creative writing experience at:

What Lies Beyond

The new RCNQ album What Lies Beyond on Canyon Records is being mixed and mastered as we speak, with the goal of a mid-summer release in time for our late summer tour. We’re loving what we’re hearing, and we know you will, too!

Men in Black 4: What Lies Beyond?!
photo courtesy Robert Doyle Photography/Canyon Records

Trialogue Takes to the Air and Lands on the Charts

Since it’s April release, Trialogue has been getting a slew of airplay throughout the US as well as in the UK, the Netherlands, Spain, Canada and Australia. At last count, we’ve been played on over thirty shows, with new playlists coming in almost every day from Heart Dance Records.

As reviewers have noted, it is indicative of the eclectic breadth and scope of the album that different songs are being played on New Age, contemporary instrumental, world, fusion, ambient and classical programs.

While we’re genuinely grateful to every single station that plays our music, we’re especially jazzed that three different songs have made seven different playlists on the world’s leading ambient music radio program Echoes, and the album as a whole is charting at #8 on the Echoes Top 25!

Echoes Top 25 for May 2016

Trialogue is also the current Featured Album on Best New Age CDs:

. . . AND is at #23 on the Zone Music Reporter Top 100:

. . . AND this just in (as in, literally just this minute!)

Thought Radio Afterglow Top 10:

You can hear what all the buzz is about and order your copy of Trialogue, download your favorite songs, write your own review, or just give it a listen at:

Forecast: Four More Hot Tunes for TQ

Temenos Quartet will return to the cool confines of Saint Cecilia Studios in early August to complete work on Forecast, the band’s debut album. A limited edition EP of the first six songs was pre-released this spring at a rockin’ Sea of Glass Center for the Arts concert, and we’re looking forward to tracking the final four this summer and getting the complete LP mixed, mastered, manufactured and marketed this fall.

Music as Spiritual Manifestation

Looking down the river and around the bend, the R. Carlos Nakai & Will Clipman duo will present an evening of “music as spiritual manifestation” at Tara Mandala in Pagosa Springs CO at 8 PM on Saturday July 9th. You can register for this transformational event and learn more about this enlightened community at:

R. Carlos Nakai and Will Clipman in Concert

photo courtesy Robert Doyle Photography/Canyon Records

RIP Jack Miller

The life and career of legendary engineer Jack Miller were celebrated at the MIM Theater on Memorial Day. Among the many glowing tributes, heartfelt performances, vivid video projections and personal anecdotes that were shared, I was invited by Robert Doyle, President of Canyon Records and producer of this special event, to read the following eulogy I had spontaneously composed upon learning of Jack’s death:

photo courtesy Robert Doyle Photography/Canyon Records


In the liner notes for my solo Canyon Records album Pathfinder I refer to Jack Miller as The Sonic Buddha: an unflappable font of wisdom, patience, musicality and technical skill who invariably brought out the best in me, and I suspect in every recording artist he ever worked with, from Duane Eddy to Henry Mancini to the Rolling Stones to R. Carlos Nakai. Jack was the engineer on all but three of the thirty-four albums I’ve recorded for Canyon, and his presence was keenly felt even on that thirty-fourth and most recent one, recorded near the end of his life when he was not able to be physically present in the control room. Jack forgot more than I’ll ever know about the art and science of recording, but he was always willing to listen to my suggestions and consider my requests during the creative process; he never forced his vast and comprehensive knowledge on the artists, rather allowing us to discover on our own that he’d been right all along.

Jack was all about feeling: he didn’t much care how that feeling was achieved, as long as the music felt right when it came back out of the speakers. Of the innumerable examples of this simple yet profound aesthetic I can recall over a quarter-century of recording with Jack, one stands out as the quintessential Miller Moment.

We’d been trying all day without success to find just the right drum sound for a particular song, and even though the studio was beginning to look like the Ethnomusicology Wing of the Smithsonian Institute after a tornado, none of the dozen or so exotic instruments I’d brought in gave us the right feel. Jack got up from the console, walked through the studio and disappeared into a storage room behind the main recording room. After several minutes of rummaging around, he re-emerged with a cardboard carton designed to ship 120 CDs. He handed it to me and said “Here. Play the Sacred Canyon Drum.” I thought he was joking and laughed; but he walked back into the control room, slated the take and said “We’re rolling!” And of course, the Sacred Canyon Drum—Jack’s secret weapon when all else failed—sounded great and gave the song the perfect feel we’d been searching for.

For all his expertise, Jack was one of the most genuinely humble people I’ve ever known. This brilliantly gifted engineer who’d had a stellar seventy-year career that encompassed every known genre of music and garnered Grammys, Gold and Platinum Records, and millions of sales worldwide, kept a CD of a mono mix he’d inadvertently sent to the manufacturer instead of a stereo master tacked to the wall above his mixing console. I suppose it was his way of reminding himself that even genius is fallible.

I visited Jack a couple of months before he died. His mind and body were failing him, but he recognized me and we spent a lovely afternoon weaving fact and fiction into a new chapter of music history. What I remember most vividly is how clear and blue his eyes were: I could tell the old Jack was in there, listening for the feeling. I loved him. I will miss him, as will the music.

Will playing Jack’s Sacred Canyon Drum

Poem of the Month

I thought I’d follow my own advice and close with this Poem of the Month as an example of never letting a thank-you or an I love you go unsaid. It may seem long at first glance, but the lines are very short, so it’s really a pretty quick read. Enjoy!



I meant to write

a thirteen-line

anniversary poem


for each year

but of course

once I set pen

to paper

the words exploded

from the bare tree

of my mind

a shotgun-startled

murder of crows

too fast

too many

in all directions

to apprehend

so few


Before you

was winter

with you

came spring

and now

in the blue

summer silence

I can think clearly

about the fall


The only poem

worth writing

is the one

one writes

as if it were

one’s last

the one in which

no syllable

is not essential

no thing

not what it is


How then

do I say

without cliché

that love

is a form

of divine madness

in which

the well-being

of the beloved

is more important

than one’s own

how might I write

without melodrama

that I’d have been

dead long ago

if not for you

and so

quite literally

that you are

my life



is more

unless more

is necessary

then less

is nothing more

than laziness



the question is not

have we done

all we could have

but rather

have we done

what was needed


have we named

the ten thousand things


have we found our way

back to the three

and to the two

and to the nameless



You waded into

this charming wreck

and built

what needed to be built


whatever had a chance

to grow

tore down

that which was

in the way

disturbed nothing

that wasn’t

you raised a gated wall

around our sacred grove

created space

for work

and guests

where there had been

thorns and stones

filled empty cupboards

brought down

cool breeze

into the stifling heat

blew up

the bastion I’d built


around my heart


My way

has always been

to make the best

of what I have


to make

of what you have

the best

the way

lies somewhere

in between

we stroll

that razor’s edge


holding hands



the other

above the abyss


As much as

you’ve re-made it

we both know

this is my paradise

not yours

I’m the lucky rat

who found its way home

to the desert

while you

long to return

to the mists

of Avalon

a verdant sphere

with water


a civilized world

with all four seasons

and yet

you’ve stayed

not grudgingly

but with

relentless joy


How does one

express sufficient gratitude

for such a gift

without resorting

to hyperbole

is it enough

to love as best one can

to hold up one’s end

of the bargain

keep fresh roses

in a purple vase

never let a thank-you

go unsaid


all that is mine


‘til death



This is the part

where two ones

walk off together

into forever

separate and equal

but never alone

parallel lines

converging at infinity

two halves

of a split arrow


in the quiver

of the heart


I don’t know

that I believe in

the whole

soul mate thing

but if one has one

you are mine



there you have it

the one

who almost got away


with three words

to make of nothingness

a something

nothing can unmake

no need

to repeat them

they are all

there is

© Will Clipman 2016

Wishing one and all a scintillating summer!

If art is creation then teachers are artists who create the future.

~Guillaume Henri


Will Clipman

musician • poet • performing & recording artist • maskmaker • storyteller • educator

office: 520.743.1347
mobile: 520.591.0776
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