Greetings, One & All~
May has always felt like a month of possibility to me, so in the spirit of envisioning the future we truly want and working to bring that vision into reality, your May A 440 Newsletter offers a glimpse of what may be. . .
I’m delighted and excited to announce that from July 26th through August 2nd I will conduct my Myths & Masks personal transformation retreat in conjunction with a creative Dreamtime Arts journey to Scotland’s fabled Orkney Islands. I invite you to visit www.dreamtimearts.com for more insights into this mystical adventure.
On Tuesday May 6th I’ll wrap up the workshop sequence of my annual Myths & Masks Artist-in-Residency at Cheyenne Traditional School in Scottsdale AZ, then return on Thursday May 8th to emcee a presentation of student work at Evening Under the Stars, a celebration of art, music, food, family and community where all the students’ masks will be displayed and selected presenters will share their masks and mythic persona poems with a live audience.
On Wednesday May 7th I’ll be back in Tucson to participate in a Career Day at Summit View Elementary School, where I’ll encourage students to pursue their passions and develop skill-sets that will empower them to make a living doing what they love.
On Thursday May 15th I’ll be in Ruidoso NM for two school presentations entitled Class Acts at the renowned Spencer Theater with the Voyagers Trio: R. Carlos Nakai (Native American flutes), Udi Bar-David (cello), and yours truly (pan-global percussion) at 10:30 AM and 12:30 PM. . .
. . . then on Friday May 16th at 7 PM the Voyagers Trio will take the stage at the Spencer Theater for a public concert. Having performed at this marvelous venue before, I’m thrilled to be returning with two of the finest musicians on the planet for this engagement, which is sponsored in part by Intercultural Journeys.
Information and tickets for the concert can be obtained at
insights into the artists and artistry of Intercultural Journeys can be found at
and of course the Southwestern-meets-Middle Eastern classical-desert-folk fusion of Voyagers can be sampled and purchased at
Working in reverse chronological order (we drummers have our own idiosyncratic concept of time!) I’ll appear with the Lori Sumberg Band at the iconic Tucson Folk Festival on Saturday May 3rd at 5:30 PM. Lori will light up the Tucson Museum of Art Stage with worldbeat-folk-rock originals from her newest release Farther to Run and her previous debut album Tales of the Road, on both of which yours truly lays down that ol’ studio udu voodoo that he do so well.
On May 1st (just this morning–and I just heard about it this morning?!) Awakening the Fire was the featured album for the Music of the World show on KPFA 94.1 FM broadcasting out of Berkeley CA. The show is hosted by Stephen Kent, one of the foremost proponents of the Australian didgeridu on the world music scene today, who got an earful of the music from this GRAMMY-nominated album by R. Carlos Nakai & Will Clipman in person when the duo performed at Berkeley’s legendary Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse as part of their March tour in California and Oregon (the term “coffeehouse” doesn’t do this gorgeous 300-seat theatre justice–it’s a destination Bay Area venue for touring acoustic musicians from all over the world).
You can find out more about Stephen and his show and listen to an archive of this broadcast at
and of course the “primal sonic odyssey” of Awakening the Fire can be sampled and purchased at
. . .And So It Begins
Speaking of what may be, here’s a glimpse of the future: my twelve-year-old nephew Noah River Clipman rockin’ the crowd on ukulele at the 2014 Reading/Berks Earth Day Celebration at River Front Park in Reading PA. Noah is sitting in with the duo Be (his dad Michael Clipman on guitar, vocals and percussion, and percussionist Tom Singer). The NRC Trio is launched!
Poem of the Month
. . . And coming full circle to mythic islands: in any given year I might well be on the Big Island of Hawai’i right now, gazing up from fields of rugged black lava rock at the snowcapped peaks of the tallest mountain on the planet, its flanks criss-crossed with red rivulets of molten earth turning the midnight sea to steam; or swimming with honu in the turquoise and emerald waters off Kanekanaka Point on the Kona Coast.
Minus the ocean, that could be right here at Rancho Improvisoso: the black volcanic crags of the Tucson Mountains to the west, date palms swaying in the warm dawn wind that rises with the sun in the east.
So May’s Poem of the Month speaks of possibility, of renewal, and of being at home in the world, wherever in the world we find ourselves at this moment–be it Sonora, Hawai’i, Orkney or beyond. . .
Blue Jade World
It is the purity
of a single perfectly-blown note
on a cedar flute
traveling at the speed of migration
from a red rock mesa
through the cloudless desert blue
to set an eardrum dancing
in its whorled cave.
It’s the complexity of an exceptional vintage,
blood-red with shapely legs,
a nose of black cherry and old leather,
and a finish clean as a razor
freshly-stropped on an aroused and startled tongue.
It is this island:
this highest mountaintop on earth
with its feet in bedrock,
its torso in the ocean,
and its head in the clouds,
its passion to be, still molten, molded
by the cool experienced hands of the sea,
this little oasis in space where against all probability
or perhaps with perfect predictability
an incalculably vast stillness
began to squirm and squeak a bit
in heretofore unheard of ways.
It is kalani honua, heaven and earth:
the perfectly centered whole
with a perfect hole through the center
floating on the pool at the bottom of the waterfall of the throat,
pulsing almost imperceptibly
to a distantly insistent drum.
© Will Clipman 2014, from Wilderness in the Marrow
your humble narrator at The Ring of Brodgar on Orkney
May the ancient voices
of flute and drum
harmonize with yours
in a spring song singing
of what may be
be in touch
and above all be
What is your myth and how might your mask reveal it? ~Guillaume Henri