Sharing the Autumn Harvest

Greetings, One & All~

With the passage of the Equinox and the waning of the Harvest Moon, it’s been a time rich in golden autumn light as September gives way to October and summer yields to fall. It seems all my spring seed-planting and summer cultivation is yielding a rich and varied autumn harvest, highlights of which I’d like to share with you in this October issue of your A 440 Newsletter. Enjoy!


My September 8th concert with R. Carlos Nakai at The TANK Center for Sonic Arts in Rangely CO was recorded live and followed up with a “studio” recording on September 9th, yielding over three hours of material from which we plan to sculpt a ground-breaking new album. Thanks to everyone at The TANK for a completely unique sonic experience, and to all who attended our sold-out concert both inside and outside this world-renowned venue!

more about The TANK at:

The TANK Center for Sonic Arts

Inner Magick

I’ve embarked on an inspiring new multi-media collaboration with author, intuitive consultant and personal transformation guide Diane Wing. Our first weekend retreat, Unmask Your Inner Magick, is scheduled for April 27-28, 2019 in The Room at Meadowbrook in Ottsville PA. Early registration for this transformational mythic journey of the self is now open and will be capped at thirty participants.

Learn about Diane’s brilliant work and register for our event at

Learn more about The Room at Meadowbrook at

Blissful Bowls

I have also embarked on a scintillating new journey in healing sound with crystal bowl alchemist and Sounds True recording artist Tryshe Dhevney. We took our exploratory maiden voyage on September 26th, and our next creative development session is scheduled for October 5th with workshops, performances and a recording to follow.

Learn more about Tryshe’s beautiful work at


Myths & Masks

Beginning on October 22nd and continuing through November 2nd, I’ll return to Cheyenne Traditional School in Scottsdale AZ for my annual Myths & Masks Artist-in-Residency, working with fourth grade students in maskmaking and creative writing.

Trialogue Air

As befits the timeless music on Trialogue: Sherry Finzer, Darin Mahoney & Will Clipman (Heart Dance Records) our songs continue to receive high-flying airplay on an eclectic array of international airlines. Cote d’Ivoire was heard in September on Egypt Air, Vietnam Airlines andKenya Airways; Dark Horse will be heard in October on Air Mauritius. The world is our stage!

Duo Singles

My series of elemental trance groove incantations with multi-flutist Sherry Finzer continues: we’ve just recorded our fifth single toward a full album, which is planned for release in early 2019 on Heart Dance Records. Meanwhile, our current single The Space Between Breathsdrops on Friday October 26th, and will be available on Amazon, iTunes, Spotify andBandcamp on that date.

Previous singles currently available on all platforms:

Evening at Angkor Wat

video link:

Kilauea Rain

video link:

music links:



Sherry Finzer and I will back in the studio at Clamsville Productions in Chandler AZ onOctober 8th to record our next single, so stay tuned to your A 440 for further news!

Poem of the Month

Poetry arises from a moment of absolute attention combined with the good fortune to be in the right place at the right time. Your October Poem of the Month celebrates just such a coincidence of discipline and luck, with gratitude to Jan Moore of Romancing the Stone for his generosity and artistry.

Toning the Stone

Once in a great while
one arrives at precisely the right place
at precisely the right time,

like when we wandered undirected
up a winding canyon road in Santa Fe
and heard the rhythm of hammer

and chisel on stone. We stood
and watched a master sculptor
chip away everything unessential

to reveal a flowing form in living marble:
a curving surface that would then be papered
with finer and finer grains of sand

to the exquisite smoothness
of a woman’s inner thigh. Fragments fly
like shrapnel by my ear, so close

I can almost hear him toning the stone
in a quarry near the Chiricahua Mountains
where this metamorphic elemental fusion

was born in the earth’s molten heart:
drumming on a chunk so massive
it had to be rolled downhill toward

his truck; listening for the perfect
notes that sing a song of solidness
and let him know this is the one.

(with thanks to Jan Moore for the title phrase)

© Will Clipman 2018

Photo of the Month

Ditto the above for photography: Shery Christopher mindfully takes her camera with her on her sunrise walks around our property, so it was really no accident that she captured this oceanic sky in the middle of the Sonoran Desert as she came back up our driveway the other day. In over forty years of living here, I had never seen clouds like this. . . until now!

photo courtesy Shery Christopher Photography

~May the golden light of autumn illuminate your path~

September Signs

Greetings, One & All~

Our monsoon in The Old Pueblo has been a non-soon this year, which has accentuated how precious water is in the desert and how rare the blessing of rain. As we approach the balance-point of the autumnal equinox, may the elements be in harmony in your corner of the global garden, and may this September issue of your A 440 Newsletter signal refreshing seasonal change.

Nakai & Clipman

When the story of world music in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries is written, the name R. Carlos Nakai will be writ large; it is one of the great honors of my career to have been Nakai’s percussionist for thirty years, and to continue to have the opportunity to perform with him. As has been the case with many of our venues around the world, our next two performances will both be unique in different ways.

In an article on The TANK Center for Sonic Arts in The New Yorker Alex Ross writes, “In my experience, music has never seemed closer to nature. . . . One road to the musical future now runs through Rangely.” Nakai & Clipman will no doubt extend that natural musical future further into unexplored realms of improvisational sonic artistry in their September 8th concert.

TANK info & tickets

photo courtesy Robert Doyle Photography / Canyon Records

On September 13th, 2015 Nakai & Clipman performed a benefit concert to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the historic Sherbino Theater and help raise funds for its modernization and refurbishment. Almost exactly three years later, we’ll return to Ridgway on September 6th to fill the Sherbino’s new stage with music from our GRAMMY-nominated CD Awakening the Fire.

Sherbino info & tickets

Heart Dance

Meanwhile, one of the next chapters in contemporary instrumental music is being written by Sherry Finzer & Will Clipman. We have embarked on a series of elemental flute-and-drum duets, the first four of which are being dropped as singles on the last Friday of August through November, while we compile an album’s worth of sensuously soothing sound. Evening at Angor Wat dropped on August 31st and Kilauea Rain will drop on September 28th. All these singles will be available on iTunes and all the usual streaming platforms. Stay tuned for more singles and the complete album!

Enjoy this brilliant video created by Sherry Finzer:

Studio & Radio

Finzer & Clipman will be back in the studio at Clamsville Productions in Chandler AZ on September 20th to continue recording new material for the above-mentioned duo project. Once we wrap that session, we’ll head across the Valley of the Sun to Scottsdale AZ for a performance and interview on AZRADIO LIVE! at 5 PM PT.

tune in at


Facebook Email

Those of you who–like me–do not frequent social media will be as delighted as I am that Facebook now offers an email contact option. When next you visit my Facebook Artist Page–which is informational rather than interactive–you may now contact me directly at my personal email address simply by clicking on the Send Email button. I hope to hear from you soon, and you’ll hear back from me with a prompt personal email!

Beats & Tweets

The new website for the 2019 Solstice Flute Festival is now up and running, and early registration is being offered with some tasty enticements. Yours truly will be the Special Guest Artist there, so expect plenty of pan-global percussive grooviness along with the mellifluous melodies of many Native American flutes to waft across the Utah skies!

Info & Early Registration

Poem of the Month

Signs, signals, signatures. . . they’re all around us all the time, yet we sometimes don’t notice them or take time to interpret their significance. Your September Poem of the Month is an attempt to observe closely and reflect clearly upon a series of actual events that reveal a larger symbolic pattern. . . of course, the final stanza is yours to write!



with folded wings

of golden glass

how prayerfully

you let in light


your zigzag signature

across the setting crescent moon

foretells the vast migrations

yet to come


motionless beneath the sage

how clear your gaze

how lightning-quick

your strike


can you find

the one

amidst the polyrhythmic

swirl of chimes


you’ve made your point

by staying gone so long

now if you would

be so kind as to fall


you’re in on this too

escorting the mystery

down black escarpments

to a mythic realm beyond

© Will Clipman 2018

Photo of the Month

I’m no photographer, but even my unskilled eye can appreciate the magnificence of the setting sun piercing an advancing monsoon storm front. Alas, like so many this season, these thunderheads delivered their precious cargo of rain in another valley beyond ours. Still, the blessing of natural beauty is there to be gratefully received and shared. Enjoy!

~May the beauty and balance of autumn
be yours throughout the coming season~

Sometimes the treasure one has been seeking far and wide is buried right in one’s own backyard.

~Guillaume Henri

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

A Cool and Sweet Mid-Summer Treat

Greetings, One & All~

Your August A 440 Newsletter is a cool and sweet mid-summer treat brimming with refreshing good news to help you beat the heat. Take a sip and enjoy!

Sound Power

On three consecutive evenings, August 22nd, 23rd and 24th, I’ll conduct workshops at world-renowned wellness and self-transformation destination Canyon Ranch in Tucson AZ as part of The Healing Power of Sound, a week-long series of events designed “to tune in to your authentic rhythm and voice and commit to living out loud from deeper within.”

Sacred Clay (Wednesday August 22nd at 7 PM in the Yoga Studio)

Using the udu (a ceramic drum that embodies earth, air, fire and water) participants ground themselves in the vibrations of the four elements.

Green Jaguar (Thursday August 23rd at 8 PM in the Yoga Studio)

Using the berimbau (Brazilian bow harp), the tongue drum (melodically tuned box drum) and the anklung (tuned Balinese bamboo rattles) participants renew and liberate the untamed creative spirit within them.

Silent Space (Friday August 24th at 7 PM in the Sanctuary)

Using the hang (melodically tuned metallophone), Tibetan bowls, chimes and Nepalese tingsha, participants explore the sound of silence and the beauty of space, integrating heartbeat, breathing and brainwaves with the harmonic oscillations of the instruments.

more info at

The Healing Power of Sound

Rhythmic ARC

My Rhythms of Recovery workshop at Acceptance Recovery Center in Scottsdale AZ was a hit with clients and staff, and a total delight for yours truly. ARC has posted some photos of our event on its website, where you can gain more insight into its programs.

Duo Dance

I’ve been back in the studio at Clamsville Productions with contemporary instrumental flute goddess Sherry Finzer recording, mixing and mastering the first four songs from our new Heart Dance Records duo project. These tracks will be released as singles, one per month on the last Fridays of August through November, in a build-up to the release of the full-length album. The first single Evening at Angkor Wat drops on Friday August 31st.

Somewhere New

Speaking of Heart Dance projects, the CD Somewhere New is being played on the world’s leading contemporary instrumental radio station Echoes by host John Diliberto. Yours truly brought a pan-global groove to seven of the twelve tracks featuring the aforementioned mystical multi-flutist Sherry Finzer, indigenous world flute avatar Mark Holland and scary-gifted pianist/guitarist Cory Edwards, among other stellar musicians.

listen at

Digital Jukebox

Shadow Chant is now available worldwide through CD Baby International Distribution, and will soon be available song-by-song on a Digital Jukebox website page that singer/songwriter/guitarist/flutist Leon Littlebird is creating for our music.

Near Horizon

Early September will find yours truly back in Colorado for two performances with Native American flute master and cultural icon R. Carlos Nakai: September 6th at 7:30 PM at the historic Sherbino Theater in Ridgway CO; and Saturday September 8th at 8 PM at the world-renowned TANK Center for Sonic Arts in Rangely CO. The TANK is the subject of a fascinating feature article in The New Yorker by music writer Alex Ross.

Sherbino info and tickets at:

TANK info and tickets at:

The New Yorker TANK article:

photo courtesy A’toka Arts Management

Far Horizon

It’s one of those tricks of vision that sometimes an event on the far horizon comes into focus more clearly than that which is right before our eyes. Such is the case with my appearance as Percussionist-in-Residence at the 2019 Solstice Flute Festival, which will take place in Midway UT on June 17-21, 2019. Stay tuned for more on this event.

photo courtesy Shery Christopher Photography

Poem of the Month

Perhaps because we have so few trees in the desert, losing even one feels like losing a family member. Your August Poem of the Month commemorates one of ours.


Little Aleppo. Original Yule.
I planted you at the winter solstice
and twelve years later at the summer solstice
had to cut you down.

Such high hopes. You’d come
from Syria, a welcome refugee
to join our towering grandfather tree
who’d graced our land for half a century.

But in this brutal heat and drought
you had no future. You flourished
for over a decade, lovingly watered and pruned.
You grew from four to six to more than ten feel tall,

your needles a startling alpine green
against the sapphire desert sky.
But in the end you hit rock-hard
caliche underneath the shallow soil,

and like the roots of two
mesquites before you, yours
could not quite penetrate to water’s depth.
Now the incense of your heartwood

perfumes our living room, precisely sawed
in foot-long logs. Next winter solstice
you’ll go up in fragrant smoke:
an offering. A prayer.

© Will Clipman 2018

Photo of the Month

Like our trees, our wild animals are part of our family here at Rancho Improvisoso. We thought we’d lost our javelina to a mountain lion, but after an absence of nearly a month Javierreturned recently, much to our delight. Shery got up close and personal for this welcome-home portrait, which she shares as your August Photo of the Month.

photo courtesy Shery Christopher Photography

~Be well and walk in beauty with a cool body~

Knowledge is what one knows; wisdom is how one uses what one knows.

~Guillaume Henri

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

Mirage From a Desert Oasis

Greetings, One & All~

Your July A 440 Newsletter arises like a mirage from a desert oasis: concentric ripples on an ancient pond, set in motion by a dragonfly’s deft pluck. Enjoy!

Somewhere New

The new Heart Dance Records album Somewhere New by Sherry Finzer & Mark Holland will be officially released on July 20th. I contributed my pan-global percussive pulse to seven of the twelve tracks, and tried to take the groove somewhere new on this lush and varied tapestry of flutes, piano, guitar and harp.

three links for listening and pre-ordering:

Transformation Radio

On Wednesday July 18th at 4-5 PM PT (7-8 PM ET) I’ll be interviewed on the new Transformation Talk Radio Network show From Here to There with host Dyan Garris. We’ll be discussing the healing power of music during the last twelve minutes of the hour.

Click on Listen Now at and call in at 800.930.2819

Rhythmic Recovery

Speaking of the healing power of music, on Wednesday July 25th from 1-3 PM I’ll conduct the first installment of my new music therapy workshop Rhythms of Recovery for clients at Acceptance Recovery Center in Scottsdale AZ.

photo courtesy John Running Photography / Canyon Records

Poem of the Month

In the stillness of a Sonoran Desert summer, one notices how the timeless flow of nature and the timely currents of human nature sometimes reflect each other, the way the surface of a pond might mirror the sky. As we wait for the monsoon rains to begin, this Poem of the Month serves as a metaphor for those mutually illuminating realities.

Waiting for Rain

The quality of mercy is not strained;
it droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
upon the place beneath.

Beautiful brutality: oxymoronically Shakespearean
how the hottest driest winds blow hardest
just as all the desert bloom is letting go.

Sometimes it’s good to snap an empty pen in two,
release those scrambled ions in one angry burst,
immerse oneself in mindless ordinary chores.

How few of us are born and live and die
in one small town at the end of the road;
how many have fled unspeakable cruelty

on the thinnest wisp of hope,
had children taken from us
for the crime of having nowhere else to go?

Bone-dry triple digits:
thirsty deer come by at dusk
to empty just-filled water bowls.

Even our hawk craves the refreshment
of play, splashing unselfconsciously
in the birdbath beneath the olive tree.

It’s the least among us who most need
that unstrained quality, that merciful rain:
one kind word, one gentle touch.

Sometimes the great lines
that started the world
don’t make it on stage for the play.

Might as well berate the wind, try
to cry down a cloud, pray the sun
won’t rise, curse the sapphire skies.

© Will Clipman 2018

Photo of the Month

Another seasonal event we await with ‘bated breath here in Sonora is the once-a-year flowering of the night-blooming cereus at the summer solstice. Photographer R. Craig Clipman captured its momentary magic and shares this shot as your Photo of the Month.

photo courtesy R.C. Clipman Photography

ahhh. . . home. . . !

Greetings, One & All~

After two months on the road and in the air (ten thousand miles, seventeen concerts, three recording sessions, and a TV show) you’ll forgive me for being glad to simply be home for a while without much on my calendar.. . . big exhale!

I’ll be jamming with some old friends here at Rancho Improvisoso, fixing some stuff that got broken, sorting some stuff that didn’t, listening to some stuff that got recorded, thinking about what’s next, and mostly being a lizard in the sun.

I know a lot of you skip right to the Poem of the Month anyway, so what the heck. . . I’ll join you this month!

Much love and light to all, and be in touch as spirit moves~ Will


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 2018

This is your life: there is no understudy
waiting in the wings to play your role
if you don’t show up for your performance.

~Guillaume Henri

Will Clipman

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

Amazing Daze in the May Maze

Greetings, One & All~

I’m not sure where April went, but May is upon us. Allow me to share some highlights in this short-and-sweet May issue of your A 440 Newsletter as I work the wires, kick the tires and light the fires in preparation for a month in the air and on the road. . . .

First Flight

I’ll be in St. Louis MO on May 2nd for a recording session with world flutist Sherry Finzer, Native American flutist Mark Holland and pianist Cory Edwards, where we’ll be laying tracks for some new Heart Dance Records projects at Sawhorse Studios.

Next Stop

On May 5th, Leon Littlebird & Will Clipman (aka The SunDog Twins) will play the fabled Old Town Center for the Arts in Cottonwood AZ in a show we’re playfully billing as Cinco de SunDog!

tickets, info & press:

Leon Littlebird and Will Clipman bring Worldbeat grooves to OTCA

Movin’ On

Leon & Will then Continue to Continue on into Colorado for a run of really high Rocky Mountain dates:

May 10th: Casa DeVilbiss House Concert, Colorado Springs CO

info & reservations:

May 11th: Wildwood Sounds, Del Norte CO

info & tickets:

May 12th: La Veta Mercantile, La Veta CO

info & tickets:

May 13th: Steamplant Events Center, Salida CO

info & tickets:

Joseph Leon Littlebird and Will Clipman in Concert

May 23rd: Summit Musicians Relief Fund Benefit House Concert, Keystone CO

info & reservations:

May 25th: Tabor Opera House, Leadville CO

info & tickets:

Sonic Journey

On May 16th I’ll launch a new musical adventure with James Marienthal, world and Native American flutist and composer, and founder and producer of the legendary Silver Wave Records label, when we present A Journey in Sound and Movement at the Nevei Kodesh Sanctuary in Boulder CO, with special guest vocalist Kimberly Braun.



Two Masters

On May 19th I’ll play the gorgeous outdoor amphitheater at the internationally-renowned Shumei Institute in Crestone CO with incomparable Native American flute master R. Carlos Nakai, our set preceded by Taiko master Sensei Koji Nakamura and his ensemble.


Saturday May 19th Shumei hosts Taiko with GRAMMY® award winning Taiko Master Sensei Koji Nakamura and world premiere performer of the Native American flute, R. Carlos Nakai with Will Clipman on pan-global percussion

Poem of the Month

Amidst all the forward momentum and the seeming rush of time, this Poem of the Month reminds me that being here now is the key to peace of mind. I hope it gives you a smile.

The Thing of It Is

Here’s the thing of it:

everything that ever

was, is or ever will be

is right now. Everyone

you’ve ever loved, love

or will love will pass away;

and everyone all of them

ever loved, love or will love

will, too. . . on and on until

the end of everything,

which will still not be nothing.

How big then should be our smiles!

© Will Clipman 2018

Photo of the Month

Shery Christopher has taken a slew of sensational nature shots recently, so settling on just one for your May Photo of the Month was no easy task. Something about the Cancerian yin-yang balance and intimacy of these two newly-hatched doves in the nest under our ramada suggests just the right mixture of vulnerability and resilience. Enjoy!

Will Clipman

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

phone: 520.591.0776
fax: 520.743.0650

Spring Broadcast

Greetings, One & All~

Spring is traditionally a time for seed-planting, and while the seeds planted in Willyworld are artistic rather than agricultural, they are nevertheless cultural. As we approach the vernal equinox, and a moment of balance and harmony in the solar year (not to mention two full moons, on the first and last days of this month) enjoy this broadcast* of artistic seeds in your March A 440 Newsletter!

*A 440 Fun Fact: the term broadcast originally referred to the ancient agricultural planting method of hand-casting seeds broadly over a patch of turned earth, with the hope that most if not all of them would germinate and take root.

MIM Drum

On February 16th, I delivered my prized Merced Maldonado powwow drum to the internationally-renowned Musical Instrument Museum, where it will be featured in the new Canyon Records exhibit, devoted to the history and artistry of the world’s foremost producer and distributor of Native American music. Canyon has been in continuous operation since 1951, and I have recorded thirty-five albums for the label since 1992, including the iconic Feather, Stone & Light with R. Carlos Nakai and William Eaton, on which this drum was featured, and which launched the legendary Wilde Boys trio.

Canyon Ranch

Having begun on February 28th, I’ll continue an adventure in a different kind of Canyon on March 1st & 2nd as I conduct Myths & Masks workshops from 7-9 PM each evening with guests at Tucson’s internationally-acclaimed wellness and personal transformation mecca Canyon Ranch.

Spring Concerts

I’m blessed with a rich and varied menu of Spring performances, featuring some of the most accomplished artists of my generation–and some of my favorite human beings on the planet–at some of the coolest venues in Arizona, California and Colorado. Don’t pinch me!

Friday March 23rd

  1. Carlos Nakai Quartet: Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix AZ


Wednesday April 4th

  1. Carlos Nakai Quartet: Don Quixote’s International Music Hall, Felton CA

Thursday April 5th

  1. Carlos Nakai Quartet: Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse, Berkeley CA

Friday April 6th

  1. Carlos Nakai Quartet: Sebastopol Community Concert Center, Sebastopol CA

Sunday April 8th

  1. Carlos Nakai Quartet: Marin Center Showcase Theater, San Raphael CA

Wednesday April 11th

Leon Littlebird & Will Clipman: Musical Instrument Museum Theater, Phoenix AZ

Thursday April 12th

Leon Littlebird & Will Clipman: Monterey Court, Tucson AZ

Sunday April 29th

  1. Carlos Nakai & Will Clipman: Pueblo Grande Museum, Phoenix AZ

Saturday May 5th

Leon Littlebird & Will Clipman: Old Town Center for the Arts, Cottonwood AZ

Thursday May 10th

Leon Littlebird & Will Clipman: Casa DeVilbiss House Concert, Colorado Springs CO

Friday May 11th

Leon Littlebird & Will Clipman: Wildwood Sounds, Del Norte CO

Saturday May 12th

Leon Littlebird & Will Clipman: La Veta Mercantile, La Veta CO

Sunday May 13th

Leon Littlebird & Will Clipman: Steamplant Events Center, Salida CO

Saturday May 19th

  1. Carlos Nakai & Will Clipman: Shumei Institute, Crestone CO

Wednesday May 23rd

Leon Littlebird & Will Clipman: SMRF Benefit House Concert, Keystone CO

Friday May 25th

Leon Littlebird & Will Clipman: Tabor Opera House, Leadville CO


While I’m touring in NoCal, I’ll film a new segment of Theatre from the Ground Up, the Marin TV show produced by Lori Greenleaf, on Saturday April 7th. You may recall my previous segment a few years back: an interview with psychologist and shamanic healer Leslie Gray of the Woodfish Institute, which still stands as the definitive exegesis of my Myths & Masksphilosophy and practice. This new installment will focus on Planet of Percussion–which makes sense, since I’ll be touring with a van-load of pan-global drums!


Veterans’ Flutes

On Friday March 16th at 6:30 PM, my esteemed colleague R. Carlos Nakai will perform a fundraising benefit concert for veterans at the Berger Performing Arts Center. As a Navy veteran who served in Vietnam, and the foremost Native American flutist in the world, Flutes for Vets couldn’t have a better spokesperson or fundraising performer than RC.

Bubbling Tar

On March 20th I’ll record drum and percussion performances for the soundtrack of the movie Tar, a sci-fi horror thriller produced by Tim Nuttall, with a score composed by Conor Jones, and starring Timothy Bottoms and Graham Greene. Also featured on the soundtrack will be Yaqui-Apache vocalist and fellow Canyon Records artist Roman Orona.

Cheyenne Masks

The students at Cheyenne Traditional School elevated their creative work to a new level in this year’s Myths & Masks Artist-in-Residency, as evidenced by this group photo of Christen Anderson’s fourth grade class, and by the Poem of the Month that follows below.

Sonoran Stories

Ditto that for the historical fictions written by the fourth grade students at Sonoran Sky Schoolin this year’s Arizona Alive! Artist-in-Residency. Their epic creations are too long to be included here, but this snapshot of one group of storytellers from our culminating community showcase shows their pride of accomplishment.

Poem of the Month

I’ve never featured a poem other than my own as the Poem of the Month, but I can’t do better than this wonder-filled Mythic Persona Poem from this year’s Myths & Masks Artist-in-Residency at Cheyenne Traditional School. Out of the mouths of babes, right? Enjoy!



Guardian of the Waves


My name

is Evrak Ayerf,

the goddess of the sea.


I am as old

as the beginning of time,

yet as young

as the last salty breeze

across my shore.


I originated from God’s hands

billions of years ago,

and my purpose

is to bring life

with the rocking waters

of my ocean.


My eyes area as colorful

as the rarest of fishes

and my hair is smoother

than the tail of a dolphin.

Since my skin is shiny

like a clam’s pearl

and my eyelashes are longer

than a sea urchin’s spikes

I attract the prettiest

of creatures.

I have a brightly colored tail

Which helps me swim,

and strings of seaweed

slick on my cheeks.

Along my face,

there are sandy trails

that resemble the shore.


My voice is like a mermaid’s song

and it will put the sea

to sleep at night.

With my precious seashell flute,

my melody will call

to all of the ocean.


I live throughout

the Atlantic waters,

but I’d prefer to sleep

in large underwater volcanoes.

The warmth of the lava

will bubble around me,

helping me escape the cold sea.


My favorite meal to eat

is the crunchy shells

of the colorful seahorses’ eggs

after the babies are born.

To wash it down,

I drink the glowing liquid

of the midnight starfish.


All throughout the sea,

I will make sure all the creatures

are happy with the temperature

of the water.

I will check on the bay

every so often

to help the tide go up.

And lastly I will

attempt to prevent

the horrible pollution every day.


The fish that fill the ocean

respect me.

They love the care

that I give them

and my love of the sea.

I am their special

and unique mother.


I am destined

to have more work;

I’m guessing that soon

the sea’s population

will rise.

I am hoping

to get in touch

with the gods of the rivers,

if that would be possible.

But I’m happy

to help this world.


    ~by Freya Karve (fourth grade, Cheyenne Traditional School, 2018)



Photo of the Month

We’ve been blessed with multiple generations of a bobcat family in our twenty years here at Rancho Improvisoso, but this early morning visit from a mother and her yearling kitten together is a first, which Shery was quick enough on the shutter to capture on film. Meow!

Harmony and balance to one and all,

this Spring and throughout the year.

New Year’s Full Moon and a Full New Year

Greetings, One & All~

I trust you enjoyed a spectacular New Year’s Eve full moon in your slice of the sky, as we did here in The Old Pueblo; and welcome to your new-look A 440 Newsletter: leaner and cleaner, lighter and brighter, shorter and sweeter; but with the same commitment to sharing good news from Willyworld. . . and of course, your Poem of the Month!

Lessons Learned
I kicked off the new year on January 2nd with a private lesson in The Boom Boom Room with my Gold Star student Leslie Hughes from from Grand Junction CO, who stops by Rancho Improvisoso for new insights into the world of pan-global percussion whenever her globe-trotting quest for the perfect groove brings her to Baja Arizona. As always in a genuine student-teacher relationship, I learned as much from her as she did from me: so much so that we had to schedule a second session on January 10th when Leslie and her husband Pat came back through the Old Pueblo on their way home from San Diego.

Will and Leslie having too much fun with her PanArt Gubal and Balspeil and her Buffalo Moon Udu

Grand Opening
On January 5th, R. Carlos Nakai & Will Clipman performed as part of the Grand Opening of the new Summit Room at the Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula CA, along with the traditional Pechanga Bird Singers, the Fancy Moccasins inter-tribal dancers and the 1491s comedy troupe. We had a ball inaugurating the huge new ballroom, as did the audience.

RC teaching the Wallaby Dance to 1300 invited guests in the Pechanga Summit Ballroom

Sunday Fun
On the morning of January 21st, I’ll hold the heartbeat for a casual performance by RC & Friends at the Rillito Heirloom Farmer’s Market in Tucson AZ. You may be as surprised as we are to see what special guest artists stroll by and sit it.

World Cultures
On January 25th I’ll have the honor of teaching the first class in a new course at the University of Arizona School of Music called Music in World Cultures, curated by ethnomusicologist, lecturer, documentary filmmaker and percussionist Dan Kruse. My session is entitled Pan-Global Percussion for the New Age of World Music: a multicultural synthesis that will set the stage for on-going explorations of specific traditions.

Mythic Tradition
Beginning on January 29th and running through February 9th, I’ll return to Cheyenne Traditional School in Scottsdale AZ for my 20th annual Myths & Masks Artist-in-Residency with the fourth grade students and teachers there.

Just a few of last year’s dazzling mythic personae

Percussive Preview
On Saturday February 3rd I’ll conduct a high-energy drum-and-percussion workshop in the Kiva Room at Western National Parks Association in Oro Valley AZ entitled The Pulse of the Old Pueblo. Drawing on my forty years as a Tucson musician, and my experiences as a national and international touring performer and recording artist, I’ll guide a hands-on exploration of the varied styles and influences that have made The Tucson Sound uniquely recognizable and sought after around the world.

information and registration at:

National Parks Store | Drumming Workshop: The Pulse of the Old Pueblo

Medicine Arrow
Roman Orona–singer, dancer, actor, videographer and founding member of the new multi-media performance ensemble Medicine Arrow–created this cool video trailer from footage shot at our December 2017 premiere concert at Galactic Center in Tucson AZ:

Poem of the Month

Savoring the Gray

My only resolution this new year

is to savor the gray.

Though I’m pushing sixty-four

there is still none in my hair,

and having shaved this morning

my tell-tale salt-and-pepper beard

is hidden for at least another day.

What a lovely shade this subtle in-between

and one so seldom seen here,

either in this desert of exterior extremes

or in my black-and-white interior:

neither the absence of all color–

the irreducible nothing at the bottom of the soul–

nor the blindingly unrefracted oneness of all,

the light of long-dead stars just now arriving

with messages too dimmed by interceding emptiness

to convey a discernible meaning.

All I know for sure this afternoon

sitting in warm winter sun

is that death won’t get me

for at least another day,

and that savoring the gray will keep–for now–

the unforgiving black and white at bay.

© Will Clipman 2017

I have arrived at this moment by the only possible path: my life story.
I will continue til the end of my time by the only possible path: my life story!

~Guillaume Henri

Will Clipman

poet ~ percussionist ~ maskmaker ~ performing & recording artist ~ educator

phone: 520.591.0776
fax: 520.743.0650

The Longest Night and the Return of Light

Greetings, One & All~

As I close out another whirlwind year in Willyworld and wind down toward the winter solstice, I wish us all a peaceful and joyful holiday season.

It’s been my privilege and pleasure to share a little good news with you month by month throughout this past year, and your correspondence has been by turns encouraging and challenging. Thanks to all for all.

Enjoy this final A 440 Newsletter of 2017 in joy, with all best wishes for all the best of all the best to you and yours in the new year.

Be well and be in touch!

Trialogue at Mesa Arts Festival

On Sunday December 10th at 12:30 PM, Trialogue will perform two sets on the Alliance Stage at the annual Mesa Arts Festival on the grounds of the Mesa Arts Center in. . . you guessed it. . . Mesa AZ. Flutist Sherry Finzer, guitarist Darin Mahoney and percussionist Will Clipman will toss a few well-seasoned Yule logs on the Trialogue solstice fire to keep it crackling, and roast up some time-honored holiday chestnuts along with a generous serving of our contemporary instrumental originals, including a heapin’ helpin’ from our eponymous Zone Music Reporter Award winning album Trialogue, which of course will be available for stocking-stuffing at the show.

Medicine Arrow at Galactic Center

On Saturday December 16th at 7:30 PM, the new multicultural and multi-disciplinary performance ensemble Medicine Arrow will stage its world premiere concert at Galactic Center in Tucson AZ. Featuring singer, actor, dancer and storyteller Roman Orona, Native American flutist, puppeteer, singer and storyteller Jonah Littlesunday, and percussionist, poet, maskmaker and storyteller Will Clipman, Medicine Arrow recently field-tested its show in a well-received twenty-minute benefit set at the Arizona Science Center in Phoenix as part of a star-studded cavalcade of performers for the 18th Annual Native American Children’s Toy Drive, and now is ramping it up for its first full-length concert, surrounded by the transformational art and sound sculpture of Galactic Center.

Fourth World Revisited

Last month’s sold-out performances of Fourth World with R. Carlos Nakai and the Verde Valley Sinfonietta in Camp Verde and Sedona AZ were memorable musical milestones for yours truly, as evidenced by this shot of RC and Will with conductor Kevin Kozacek and the orchestra against the backdrop of stunning projections by photographer Larry Lindahl. I only wish I’d been able to turn around more often to watch the show!

Myths & Masks Continues

I always envision any Myths & Masks experience as the beginning of a much longer, deeper and broader process for the participants: that is certainly the case with both my November Artist-in-Residency at Tortolita Middle School in Marana AZ and my private Myths & Masks for Couples session here at Rancho Improvisoso, as evidenced by this dream-catcher mask by TMS art teacher and AiR coordinator Laurie Lindsay; these two examples of TMS student masks; and these Lifecasts created by Aras and Katrinka Erekul to celebrate their birthdays and anniversary. I’ll lend a hand later today with an installation of student mask art and poetry in the front office at TMS, and await with ‘bated breath the completion of the M&M4C masks by Aras and Katrinka.

Poem of the Month

I’ve seen snow on the ground in Tucson four times in forty years; with the feverish pace of global warming and our daytime highs in the low 80’s at the beginning of December this year, I realize I may never see this magical sight again. So, from a long-ago winter’s dream made real, here’s a Poem of the Month that bears witness to nature’s miracles. Enjoy!

An Infinitely Intimate Chill

Tonight on the first new moon of the year

it snows in Tucson, the fourth time

in forty years of wandering in the desert

I’ve seen such a thing.

I remember the white-out blizzard

on an Easter Sunday way back when,

but somehow this quiet wafting-down

is even more dramatic.

I walk the loop trail around our land

in preternatural silence, wearing only

pajama bottoms and sneakers without socks,

the trail a thin ribbon of black through the blanket.

Even under a moonless and starless sky

everything is lit with an interior light:

the creosote bows low and fragrant toward the ground,

weighed down by unaccustomed heaviness;

the cholla look almost edible,

their halos of poisonous barbed thorns

softened into fluffy confections;

the old saguaros lift their pockmarked arms

in dignity and sadness,

at once grateful and imploring,

and a young one—

armless, tall as me, and maybe half again as old—

completely sheltered under the overarching limbs

of its palo verde nurse tree,

imparts a deeper understanding

of the desert’s deeply symbiotic harmonies.

Against the charcoal horizon to the west

the ancient volcanic mountains

cut a jagged bas relief

of blue-white ice.

There is wonder at work in the world tonight,

and I am warmed to my core by its infinitely intimate chill.

© Will Clipman 2017

Photo of the Month

The compression and distillation of poetry notwithstanding, a picture is sometimes worth a thousand words. So, to bookend my poem with an indelible image by Shery Christopher, here’s a Photo of the Month that captures that long-ago magical moment. Enjoy!

May your winter dreams be deep and sweet,
and may your new year be all you’ve dreamt it to be!

Live your myth.

~Guillaume Henri


Will Clipman

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

phone: 520.591.0776
fax: 520.743.0650

From Kona to Zona and Beyond

Greetings, One & All~

Aloha! I’m back in Zona from Kona just in time to get your November A 440 Newsletter out. There’s an abundance of good news this month, but I will try to err on the side of brevity for your perusing pleasure!

Shadow Chant at Willyworld

Shadow Chant, the enchanting new release by Leon Littlebird & Will Clipman, is now available for preview and purchase–either as a physical CD or a digital download–on the Purchase Page of my personal website at:

Sun Dog Twins at the Steamplant, Salida CO / courtesy Joe Stone Media

Trialogue Takes to the Air. . . Again!

The song Mending Fences from the trio’s eponymous Zone Music Reporter Award-winning CD is programmed in-flight music on Vietnam Airlines and Thomas Cook Airlines for November, and Air Mauritius for December. . . hey Sherry and Darin, we’ve got to tour these exotic locales!

Heart Dance Duo at CRAS

Sherry Finzer & Will Clipman recently had an opportunity to record the first third of our new flute-and-drum Heart Dance Records duo project to 2″ analog tape in one of the state-of-the-art studios at the Conservatory of Recording Arts & Sciences in Gilbert AZ. Yowzah–can’t beat that phat analog sound!

Sherry contemplates the Heart Dance kit from the flute booth at CRAS

RCNQ in Silver City

In our never-ending quest to make the airwaves safe for global native fusion, the R. Carlos Nakai Quartet will perform a benefit concert in the Fine Arts Theater at Western New Mexico University in Silver City, New Mexico, in support of Gila Mimbres Community Radio station KURU 89.1 FM, on Friday November 10th at 7 PM.

info & tickets available on-line at

The Q at Rancho Improvisoso / courtesy Shery Christopher Photography

Nakai in Concert with Verde Valley Sinfonietta

On Saturday & Sunday, November 18th & 19th, I’ll have the distinct honor and pleasure of holding the heartbeat for a performance of selections from Fourth World with R. Carlos Nakai and the Verde Valley Sinfonietta; the Saturday concert is at Phillip England Center for the Performing Arts in Verde Valley AZ at 6 PM; and the Sunday matinee is at Sedona Performing Arts Center in Sedona AZ at 2:30 PM.

info & tickets at

Myths & Masks in Marana

Starting with a Planet of Percussion kick-off assembly on Monday November 6th and concluding with a Myths & Masks community showcase of student masks and poetry on Wednesday November 22nd, I’ll have the privilege of serving as the November Artist-in-Residence at Tortolita Middle School in Marana AZ.

Medicine Arrow Benefit Set

In our never-ending quest to create positive change through music, Medicine Arrow will perform a twenty-minute set on Friday November 24th for the 18th Annual Native American Children’s Toy Drive & Benefit Concert from 6-9 PM at the Arizona Science Center in Phoenix AZ.

*I wish I had more info for you, but this came in right at deadline. Our set is rumored to be scheduled for 7:30 PM, amidst a stellar cast of other artists, all for a good cause!

Preview: Medicine Arrow at Galactic Center

That distilled essence of the Medicine Arrow show will be a preview for the trio’s full-length world premiere concert at Galactic Center in Tucson AZ on December 16th at 7:30 PM, surrounded by transformational art and sound sculpture, with intimate seating.

Tickets are available at the door only for this show, so come early get comfy!

Temenos Quartet CD Release Preview

On Friday December 1st at 8 PM, your intrepid purveyors of Old Pueblo Folk Funk Temenos Quartet will return to the highly danceable confines of Speedway Gallery in Tucson AZ to celebrate the release of our full-length CD Forecast. Those of you who know and love our earlier EP version–and those of you new to TQ–won’t want to miss this intimately poetic trance-groove evening with To-Ree-Nee, Heidi, Amo & Will!

Photos of the Month

Shery Christopher and I captured these two bookend images recently: hers, a sunrise here in Zona; mine, a sunset out in Kona. Both bespeak the beauty of a fleeting moment, and remind us to be present every day in the eternal now. Aloha nui loa, a hui hou!

Poem of the Month

And to close in the spirit of brevity with which we began, here’s one of my favorite vignettes from Wilderness in the Marrow: it bespeaks the fleeting nature of autumn–and indeed of all our seasons on Earth–reminding us to be here now. 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.

© Will Clipman 2017; from Wilderness in the Marrow

May your November be one to remember!

Self-discipline is its own reward.

~Guillaume Henri


Will Clipman

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

phone: 520.591.0776
fax: 520.743.0650