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

email: williamclipman@aol.com
phone: 520.591.0776
fax: 520.743.0650
website: www.willclipman.com
facebook: www.facebook.com/willclipman

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

email: williamclipman@aol.com
phone: 520.591.0776
fax: 520.743.0650
website: www.willclipman.com
facebook: www.facebook.com/willclipman

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
email: williamclipman@aol.com
website: www.willclipman.com
facebook: www.facebook.com/willclipman

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
email: williamclipman@aol.com
website: www.willclipman.com
facebook: www.facebook.com/willclipman

Harvest Moon Harvest

Greetings, One & All~

Please accept my apologies for being late with your October A 440 Newsletter. As most of you know, I try hard to get the good news out on the first of each month, and more often than not succeed; but having been on the road for most of the last two months, I haven’t been able to compile this month’s issue incrementally as I usually do. Better late than never, as they say; and the good news is you haven’t missed any good news, as our Harvest Moon Harvest is just beginning. Enjoy!

Ancient Voices, Future Visions

On Saturday & Sunday October 14th & 15th from 9 AM-4 PM each day, I’ll return to the Kiva Room at Western National Parks Association in Oro Valley AZ to conduct the newest iteration of my on-going and ever-evolving Myths & Masks workshop. Exploring the theme Ancient Voices, Future Visions, participants will create their own original, wearable mask art and compose a mythic persona poem that interprets how all that we have been and all that we are now manifests in the highest self we have yet to be. Those of you who’ve experienced previous iterations of M&M know how deep, rich and profound an experience it is, and I welcome you back to take your self-transformation to the next level; for those of you who are new to M&M, what a treat you’re in for!

information and registration at:

National Parks Store | Ancient Voices, Future Visions: A multi-media mask making workshop with Will Clipman

Shadow Chant CD Release

The Sun Dog Twins (aka, Leon Joseph Littlebird & Will Clipman) enchanted audiences across the Western Slope of the Shining Mountains on the first leg of their 2017-18 CD Release Tour for their new album Shadow Chant. A longer tour through Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado is planned for next Spring, and you can enjoy the uplifting sounds of Shadow Chant in the meantime by ordering a CD or digital download at:


The Dawgs do The Steamplant in Salida CO

Family Night at Canyon Ranch

On Wednesday October 18th from 5:30-7:30 PM I’ll return to the world-renowned spa and self-transformation center Canyon Ranch in Tucson AZ for the second installment of my new programming initiative there with a Family Night maskmaking workshop for staff and their families.

What Lies Beyond Wins ISMA

The ground-breaking, boundary-shattering new Canyon Records release What Lies Beyond by the R. Carlos Nakai Quartet recently won the Indian Summer Music Award for Best Contemporary/Modern Instrumental Album. WLB and RCNQ also nabbed two Native American Music Award nominations: one for Best Instrumental Album and one for Duo/Group of the Year.

You can learn more about NAMA and support our nominations at:


Nakai & Clipman at CasaBella

On Saturday October 21st from 5-9 PM, R. Carlos Nakai & Will Clipman will provide musical atmosphere for the one-year anniversary gala of CasaBella, Tucson’s premiere Southwestern art gallery.

Scroll down to mid-page for an Invite Request at:


Photo of the Month

I never had ravens at Rancho Improvisoso before Shery arrived; but she summoned a few from her previous home in Sedona, and now we see and hear them quite frequently and enjoy their magical presence. Shery happened to catch a momentary visit from this extraordinarily large one perched atop a saguaro outside her meditation room.

Poem of the Month

And in keeping with that motif, here’s a Poem of the Month that was composed in the forest near Mount Shasta some years ago, which speaks to the powerful medicine of the Saami messenger bird. I trust you’ll find it as insightful to read as I did to write. Enjoy!

Raven Medicine

Bring your wings

trust raven medicine

in a pool of sunlight

among ancient trees

Bundle feathers

send prayer smoke up

sit still


Lift a sequoia cone

from the moist duff

and sniff its underbelly

Trust what nose

pressed in loam tells

Be that one

mysterious cloud alone

in a cloudless October sky

that vanishes above the mountains

in the blink of an eye

Let god’s dogs rouse you

to go out at three

and stare at stars

Remember to remember

that you are made

of that bright stuff

© Will Clipman 2017

May the full Harvest Moon illuminate your way this month,

and may your October be blessed with much abundance.

A keen observer and careful listener has a natural advantage in any situation.

~Guillaume Henri


Will Clipman

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

phone: 520.591.0776
fax: 520.743.0650
email: williamclipman@aol.com
website: www.willclipman.com
facebook: www.facebook.com/willclipman

See You in September!

Greetings, One & All~

As we round the bend from monsoon season toward the autumnal equinox here in Northern Sonora, the days grow shorter and the nights grow longer as we begin to dry out and cool down. Conversely, events in Willyworld continue to thunder ahead at a blistering pace. Enjoy all the good news in this September issue of your A 440 Newsletter!

Shadow Chant

The new duo album Shadow Chant by Leon Joseph Littlebird & Will Clipman is in post-production and scheduled for release the last week of September. This new collection of songs marks an exciting departure for The Troubadour Laureate of the Western Slope and The Old Pueblo Desert Drummer: with the addition of Will’s heartbeat, Leon’s acclaimed lyricism and songcraft are infused with a percussion-driven world music/Americana feel, spanning the spectrum from gently contemplative ballads to highly-combustible rockers. The title cut is a passionate protest song with an indelible hook that is sure to light your Bic!

We’ll launch the new album with a series of CD release concerts on the Western Slope, mixing intimate house concerts and formal venues such as the venerable Steamplant Event Center in Salida CO, with more bookings currently in the works.

Steamplant tickets & info at

Leon Joseph Littlebird Concert

house concert tickets & info:

Tour Photos

The first leg of my three-stage summer tour included a lovely mix of live performances and recording sessions with three different ensembles: the R.Carlos Nakai Quartet (RCNQ); Leon Littlebird & Will Clipman (aka The Sundog Twins); and Trialogue + Art Patience. I’m not much of a photographer–my hands being otherwise occupied most of the time–but I managed to snap a small portfolio of scene-setters from stage and studio:

The RCNQ crowd gathering at Grand River Winery, Grand Junction CO

The pan-global percussion session at Mad House Recordists, Leadville CO

The drumkit session at Mad House–note the opened louvres for a BIG sound!

Trialogue + Art Patience house concert stage, Colorado Springs CO

Trialogue + Art Patience Francisco Crossing stage, La Veta CO

Trialogue + Art Patience Wildwood Sounds stage, Del Norte CO

And the Tour Continues. . . !

After a brief respite at home to re-connect with my sacred space and get my wits about me, I’ll head out again next week for two more RCNQ shows at the Shumei Institute in Crestone CO on Friday September 8th and at the Santa Fe Botanical Garden in Santa Fe NM on Saturday September 9th.

Shumei Institute tickets & info at

Santa Fe Botanical Garden tickets & info at


And Continues to Continue. . . !

Next, I’ll do a crack-the-whip turn-around and head out to NoCal for two Nakai, Eaton & Clipman shows at Don Quixote’s International Music Hall in Felton CA on Wednesday September 20th and at the Bankhead Theater in Livermore CA on Thursday September 21st; the latter performance will be supplemented with a day-of-show master class.

Don Quixote’s International Music Hall tickets & info at

Bankhead Theater tickets & info at

R. Carlos Nakai, William Eaton and Will Clipman

Can’t Stop Now, Must Keep Moving. . . !

From NoCal I’ll blaze back over to Colorado for the aforementioned Shadow Chant CD release concerts with Leon Littlebird & Will Clipman, then home to Tucson in October.
But wait, there’s more. . . .

Workshop Preview

I’d like to give my A 440 Inner Circle the inside track on the wonder-filled new installment of my long-running workshop series at Western National Parks Association in Oro Valley AZ: on Saturday & Sunday October 14th & 15th I’ll conduct the latest iteration of my ever-evolving Myths & Masks maskmaking and creative writing experience, this one entitled Ancient Voices, Future Visions.

Enrollment will be capped at twelve, so register early at

National Parks Store | Ancient Voices, Future Visions: A multi-media mask making workshop with Will Clipman

What Lies Beyond an ISMA Finalist

What Lies Beyond, the latest Canyon Records release by RCNQ, is a Finalist for the prestigious Indian Summer Music Awards in the Contemporary-Modern Instrumental category. You can find out more about ISMA and support our nomination at


Deepak Chopra Live Stream

I got an out-of-the-blue call from GRAMMY-winning New Age composer and recording artist Paul Avgerinos recently, asking for permission to use a song from my GRAMMY-nominated solo album Pathfinder as part of the soundtrack for a live-stream poetry reading by Deepak Chopra. Needless to say, I replied with my favorite word: YES!

Paul chose the closing cut from Pathfinder, After the Storm, and placed it in the fourth position, which he refers to as “the position of honor” in an album sequence; the honor was mine to be included with such contemporary instrumental luminaries as Peter Kater, David Arkenstone, Michael Hoppe, Michael Brant DeMaria and Jeff Pearce. Deepak Chopra chose to read an original poem inspired by Khalil Gibran over my song.

Watch and listen at

Photo of the Month

As I mentioned earlier I’m not much of a photographer myself, so I have a heightened appreciation for the timing and discipline that goes into capturing a perfect picture. This shot by Shery Christopher, taken at dawn in her meditation room, illustrates that being at the right place at the right time–being completely present in the moment and completely alert to its possibility–can result in a stunning image of subtle beauty.

Sunrise Buddha by Shery Christopher

Poem of the Month

I’ll close as always with what has become (to my surprise and delight) THE most popular feature in my A 440 Newsletter. Your September Poem of the Month reflects countless hours and endless miles alone on the road, contemplating the many storylines that weave into the tapestry of one’s life, which inevitably gives rise to both a liberating sense of being in perpetual motion and a longing to come to rest at home. Enjoy!

Point of Departure

The world is leaving

me behind, or I

am leaving it.

Either way


is a point of departure.

Between sagas

imagined by children and

the patronage of philanthropists,

from our funky little beach house

on the black volcanic shore

of an ancient inland sea

to a mythic marble palace

overlooking a valley carved

by prehistoric avalanche,

a curving road snakes

through the Singing Desert

along which all things

are revealed in time:

all points one point,

all storylines one line.

© Will Clipman 2017

Go in harmony and balance

but don’t forget to be here

before you leave!

We are all two people: the person we are and the person we aspire to be;
that we narrow the gap between those two each day, however incrementally,
is a measure of our progress toward self-realization.

~Guillaume Henri


Will Clipman

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

phone: 520.591.0776
fax: 520.743.0650
email: williamclipman@aol.com
website: www.willclipman.com
facebook: www.facebook.com/willclipman

August Abundance

Greetings, One & All~

The monsoon engenders a sudden verdant fecundity in the Sonoran Desert, all the more startling this year as record-setting rains arrived right on the heels of record-breaking heat and aridity. In harmony with the natural order, a relative dry spell in Willyworld has yielded to an astounding abundance of creative activity, as noted in this August issue of your A 440 Newsletter. Enjoy all the good news, and I hope to see you all somewhere or other monsooner than later!

Third Thrilling Thursday

On Thursday August 3rd from 7-10 PM at Noble Hops in Oro Valley, Arizona, Ambient Funk will play the last of our Thrilling Thursdays shows for 2017. Don’t miss this one last evening of delicious food, refreshing drink, stunning mountain views and groovy live music on the cool elevated patio of Noble Hops with your favorite Funksters!

info & directions at


Medicine Arrow Demo Session

On Monday August 7th at Canyon Records in Phoenix, Arizona, working with producer Stephen Butler, the new multidisciplinary, multimedia, multicultural ensemble Medicine Arrow will record a 2-3 song promotional demo. Conceived as a flexible, adaptable and expandable performance troupe, the core Medicine Arrow trio is comprised of three Canyon Records artists: singer, dancer and actor Roman Orona; flutist, storyteller and puppeteer Jonah Littlesunday; and percussionist, poet and maskmaker Will Clipman. We’ll also do a photo shoot that day; meanwhile, here’s an informal glimpse of the guys:

Jonah, Will and Roman in the rehearsal studio at Rancho Improvisoso

Rocky Mountain High Tour

The ol’ Desert Drummer will spend a good bit of August on the road in Colorado, holding the heartbeat for some of the Southwest’s finest musicians and ensembles:

On Saturday August 12th at 7:30 PM the R. Carlos Nakai Quartet will perform an outdoor concert at Grande River Vineyards in Grand Junction, Colorado, with dining and wining available.

tickets & info at

Saturday, August 12 – R.Carlos Nakai Quartet

On Wednesday August 16th at 6 PM at Aspen Canyon Ranch in Parshall, Colorado, Leon Littlebird & Will Clipman will perform an outdoor concert with dining, lodging and/or camping options available. This show will help generate funds for the Summit Musicians Relief Fund, a non-profit 501(c)3 founded to assist musicians in medical need.

tickets & info + dining, lodging & camping options at


On Thursday August 17th I’ll shift from stage to studio for a recording session with Leon Littlebird at Mad House Recordists in Leadville, Colorado, laying tracks for our new duo album at 10,200′ above sea level–I had to include an oxygen tank in my tech rider!

The rehearsal studio at Rancho Improvisoso. . . a madhouse, indeed!

On Friday August 18th I’ll catch up with the HeArt of Summer Tour in Colorado Springs, Colorado and join Trialogue + Art Patience for a 7 PM house concert.

for reservations & information, contact Gary Coleman at


On Saturday August 19th the HeArt of Summer Tour will roll into in La Veta, Colorado for a 7 PM concert at Francisco Crossing.

tickets & info at


And on Sunday August 20th I’ll close out this leg of the tour with a 7 PM show at Wildwood Sounds in Del Norte, Colorado.

tickets & info at


FourTissimo Premiere

I’ll dive back into the deep talent pool of The Old Pueblo with HUGE splash on August 26th when FourTissimo plays its premiere concert at Sea of Glass Center for the Arts at 7:30 PM. This brand new “Southwestern Supergroup” features world-renowned guitarist Gabriel Ayala joining forces with multi-instrumentalist and vocalist AmoChip Dabney, bassist Johnny Walker, and yours truly on drums and percussion for what promises to be the don’t-miss concert of the summer! We’ll also appear on the KGUN-9 TV show Morning Blend at 11 AM on Friday August 25th.

tickets & info at


Peak Performance at Canyon Ranch

As the first installment of my new multidisciplinary programming initiative at the world-renowned resort, spa and self-transformation center Canyon Ranch in Tucson, Arizona, I’ll present a Peak Performance staff in-service entitled Unmasking the Super You at noon-1 PM on Tuesday August 29th, combining elements of my Myths & Masks workshop and performance to demonstrate and facilitate creative self-realization.

visit Canyon Ranch at


POP at Home

July saw the launch of a new Planet of Percussion offering called POP at Home. My inaugural in-service took the form of a three-day private master class with Steve and Karolyn Eisenberg: a Phoenix, Arizona couple who had seen me in concert at the Musical Instrument Museum Theater last Spring and invited me to bring POP into their living room. It was a transformational and extraordinarily enjoyable experience for them and for me, as evidenced in the eloquent testimonial Steve and Karolyn so graciously wrote and allowed me to share with you:

My husband and I saw Will Clipman perform at the Musical Instrument Museum Theater, which spurred our idea to have a master class with him in our home during the time we were planning on leaving for a vacation.

We experienced world percussion for three days with Will. He is a wonderful teacher! His energy is both invigorating and inviting. During our classes we were able to experience a wide variety of percussion instruments and learn several rhythms. We also gained a deeper understanding and appreciation for polyrhythms.

Drums are amazing instruments. They are a paradox: completely available at any level of experience; but if needed to be, amazingly complex. While we worked with them to produce sounds and rhythms for us, they in turn provided several gifts back. We both started with anxiety and stress, which was lessoned or deadened significantly. In addition, we found a new level of communication we didn’t know we were capable of.

Thanks to Will and the instruments, a mutual understanding was gained between two people who have been married for twenty-two years.

This was by far the most rewarding and enlightening vacation we have ever had!

~Karolyn & Steve Eisenberg

Karolyn and Steve improvise on djembe and berimbau

A couples duet on the tongue drum–the hands are faster than the lens!

Shoot me an email to book your own POP at Home event!

Sky High with Trialogue

The Friendly Skies just got a whole lot friendlier for contemporary world music with the news that songs from the CD Trialogue: Sherry Finzer, Darin Mahoney & Will Clipman (Heart Dance Records) will be aired on the following international airlines during August and September:


Alger Street on Singapore Airlines

Wolf Haven on Singapore Airlines


Trialogue on Vietnam Airlines and EgyptAir

Alger Street on Kenya Airways and Vietnam Airlines

Confused on EgyptAir and Air Astana

Buckle up, everyone–it’s going to be an exhilarating flight!

Pathfinder Top Five Final Ballot

It’s time for the final round of balloting to determine the five songs from Pathfinder to be included on this summer’s digital-only compilation. The nominees from the first-round ballot are (in CD track order, not ranked by number of first-round votes):

Ibo Oye
Desert Rain
Barefoot in Cholla

Shoot me an email with YOUR FIVE winning picks!

CDs & DVDs at CasaBella Fine Art

Gallery owner Thomas Hickey snapped this photo of yours truly enjoying the new CD & DVD display at CasaBella Fine Arts in Tucson, Arizona. I’m humbled and honored to have an exclusive selection of recordings on offer among the brilliant artwork at CasaBella.

visit CasaBella Fine Art at


Photos of the Month

As spectacular as our normal, everyday sunsets are in Tucson, the nightly monsoon light show takes the color and drama to a whole new level. It was almost impossible to pick out only two from Shery’s seasonal portfolio, but here are two of my favorites. Enjoy!

Monsoon Sunset #1 by Shery Christopher

Monsoon Sunset #2 by Shery Christopher

Poem of the Month

In the full cycle of the natural order, an abundance of vitality is inevitably balanced by an equal and opposite abundance of mortality. Your August Poem of the Month refracts personal experience through the lens of language in the hope of illuminating a universal truth. I trust you’ll find it as meaningful to read it as I did to write it.

That Shining Other Shore

That half-mad mystic

wandering the wintry ramparts

was right: live the questions!

Is there such a thing

as terminal sadness? Can one

literally die of a broken heart?

Oh, to hold still for so long with such

Jurassic equanimity, fierce eyes forever

focused unblinking on the eternal now!

What was I doing while you were drowning?

Was I asleep and dreaming; was I holding

my wife in my arms to console her weeping

so I wouldn’t weep; was I having my morning

coffee and reading the paper with its daily

litany of other deaths, each with its own

particular unendurability? This day began

in heartbreak: mourning the anniversary

of one loss and soon to discover another.

Your color was never

this vivid in life, your countenance

never so calm.

Heartache thuds upon heartache: the body’s

toughest muscle pounded like pylons

into the deepest detritus of the riverbottom

over which we’ll build someday

a bridge to that shining

other shore.

(the italicized quote is from Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke)

© Will Clipman 2017

Wishing one and all an abundant August!

Be fearless and have faith in your vision.

~Guillaume Henri


Will Clipman

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

phone: 520.591.0776
fax: 520.743.0650
email: williamclipman@aol.com
website: www.willclipman.com
facebook: www.facebook.com/willclipman

Cool July News

Greetings, One & All~

One trick to desert survival in the summer heat is learning to stay cool by planning activities that take place indoors, or in the shade, or very early in the morning, or after dark; another is to cultivate a cool state of mind. The July issue of your A 440 Newsletter will help you do both!

Planet of Percussion Master Classes

Things will be insanely hot and yet crazy cool when I travel to Phoenix, Arizona for three days of private Planet of Percussion master classes Wednesday-Friday July 12-14. To arrange your own private master class, visit the Contact page on my website, select Planet of Percussion from the drop-down menu and drop me a line!


photo courtesy John Running Photography/Canyon Records

Ambient Funk at Noble Hops

Ambient Funk returns to the shaded patio and scenic mountain views of Noble Hops in Oro Valley, Arizona for the second installment of our Thrilling Thursdays summer series on July 13th from 7-10 PM. No cover, delicious food, cold drinks, great grooves!

photo courtesy Shery Christopher Photography

directions, menu & info at


Pathfinder Poll: What Are Your Five Faves?

I’m conducting an informal poll to determine which five cuts from my GRAMMY-nominated solo CD Pathfinder should be included on a late summer digital-only compilation release, and I’d love to hear from you what your favorites are. You can refresh your memory with free track samples (or purchase the entire album) at:


What Lies Beyond #1

What Lies Beyond by the R. Carlos Nakai Quartet is sitting at #1 on the latest Top 20 list from the WMHB-FM Mystic Sister show, an affiliate of the international Zone Music Reporter network. If you can’t catch us there, you can sample and purchase us here:


Tour Preview

I’ll be on the road in Colorado during August for my Rocky Mountain High Summer Tour, holding the heartbeat for a Who’s Who of the Southwest’s finest musicians. Here is the basic itinerary–check your August A 440 Newsletter for more details:

Saturday August 12th
R. Carlos Nakai Quartet
Grand Junction CO

Sunday August 13th
R. Carlos Nakai & Will Clipman
Rangely CO

Wednesday August 16th
Leon Littlebird & Will Clipman
Silverthorne CO

Friday August 18th
Trialogue + Art Patience
Colorado Springs CO

Saturday August 19th
Trialogue + Art Patience
La Veta CO
Sunday August 20th
Trialogue + Art Patience
Del Norte CO

FourTissimo Premiere

You’ll want to purchase tickets early for the premiere performance of FourTissimo at Sea of Glass Center for the Arts on Saturday August 26th at 7:30 PM. Featuring Gabriel Ayala on guitar, Will Clipman on drums & pan-global percussion, AmoChip Dabney on keyboards & saxophones, and Johnny Walker on bass, FourTissimo plays a danceable and tranceable mix of electrifying originals and classic multi-genre covers.

ticket link


Facebook post


photo courtesy DeezMas Photography

Photos of the Month

One of the hidden treasures of our hot dry weather this time of year is the regular visitation of the Deer People as they cross our property on their way down from the Tucson Mountains at sunset for their nightly foraging in the Santa Cruz River basin, or at sunrise as they make their way back up into the mountains. They smell our freshly-filled waterbowls and have been stopping by three or four times a week for a cool drink.

This young buck with velvet antler buds finishes off one bowl. . .

. . . while this doe and her two fawns drain the other.

We give gratitude for the abundant blessings of nature here at Rancho Improvisoso!

Poem of the Month

As those of you who have visited us here at Rancho Improvisoso know, we have an extraordinarily intimate relationship with our wildlife. Aside from providing our wild companions with an oasis in the desert, we occasionally have the opportunity to repay their constant inspiration with acts of kindness. Your July Poem of the Month explores just such an experience, and ponders the question: Who is really saving whom? Enjoy!

Rescue and Release

You knew

when I came

to your door

naked and blind

begging to be fed

that for a wild thing

life in a cage

is no life at all,

so when the time came

though it broke your heart

you gave mine back

to the sky.

I know you’ll miss

the way I learned

to snatch mealworms

from your fingertips,

fly down from the windowsill

to land on your hand,

nestle in your shirt to sleep.

I know you’ll miss

my cries in your wilderness.

You know you can’t save us all,

but saving any one of us

just might save you.

Don’t be sad.

Be glad you set me free.

I’ll make my way and be

what I was meant to be,

and you’ll be found

by others who need saving.

© Will Clipman 2017

Envisioning for you a jeweled pool

creatively hot yet meditatively cool

One is in harmony with the natural unfolding of the universe
when one’s actions are effortless, efficient and effective.

~Guillaume Henri


Will Clipman

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

phone: 520.591.0776
fax: 520.743.0650
email: williamclipman@aol.com
website: www.willclipman.com
facebook: www.facebook.com/willclipman