Greetings, One & All~

I have much to be thankful for this month, as always; allow me to share a few highlights from my rich and varied November menu with you in this issue of your A 440 Newsletter. . . .

In the Classroom

As you can see in the snapshot below, our Myths & Masks Artist-in-Residency at Sonoran Sky is going splendidly, with students, teachers, the administration and the community fully creatively engaged with the artist to bring smiles and success to all.

The AiR will continue through November 20th, including my annual pilgrimage to SSky Camp in Prescott AZ on November 12th & 13th with the fifth grade students, teachers and parent chaperones, where we’ll continue our artistic explorations in the splendors of nature and bring all that positive energy back to school with us.

On Stage

On Thursday November 20th I’ll beat it back from Scottsdale to Tucson to appear on pan-global percussion with singer/songwriter Lori Laska Sumberg, who will celebrate the release of her new CD Farther to Run with a concert at Monterey Court from 6-9 PM:

Lori and her band will perform selections from her new album as well as her previous release Tales of the Road, on both of which yours truly provided the percussive pulse in the studio. Lori’s poetic folk-rock flavored with world music influences sounds to my ear like Joni Mitchell-meets-Melissa Etheridge on the road from Tucson to Timbuktu–but you’ll have to come out and hear for yourself!

On Saturday November 22nd I’ll change hats (and switch kits) to perform on congas & bongos with Steve Laury & The Fattburger Fugitives at The Hog Pit Smokehouse* from 5:30-8:30 PM:

Steve’s sophisticated Latin-flavored jazz sounds to my ear like Pat Metheny-meets-Carlos Santana on the road from Tucson to Tijuana–and indeed no less a personage than Pat Metheny himself has called Steve “a guitarist’s guitarist”–high praise and richly-deserved!

(*BTW, don’t be fooled by the name: while The Hog Pit is certainly a carnivore’s delight, I actually found tasty vegetarian options on the menu, and there’s a small but serviceable wine list, too!)

In the Garden

I’ll close out the month on Friday November 28th & Saturday November 29th with the first two nights of my sixteen-night run at the 2014 Las Noches de Las Luminarias festival at Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix AZ. I’ll be performing a winter solstice-flavored version of my Planet of Percussion solo show each evening from 5:30-9:30 PM throughout the month of December.


Nominations for the 2014 Native American Music Awards have been announced and Awakening the Fire: R. Carlos Nakai & Will Clipman has garnered three: R. Carlos Nakai, Artist of the Year; Awakening the Fire, Best New Age Recording of the Year; and Robert Doyle, Producer of the Year.

You can support these and other nominations you find worthy of your vote at:

And if you haven’t yet treated yourself (or someone on whom you’d like to bestow the perfect holiday gift that keeps on giving) to the GRAMMY® and NAMA-Nominated CD Awakening the Fire, it can be obtained with the click of a mouse at:

No Justice, Just Us

I’ve been aware of the plight of Native American political prisoner Leonard Peltier since 1976, but I only recently began reading his infuriating and inspiring book My Life is My Sun Dance at the invitation of my good friend and fellow musician Solvei, who has been deeply involved for a number of years in Leonard’s on-going struggle for freedom. In the photo below, Solvei and I are wearing the T-shirt she designed to raise public awareness of Leonard’s case and funds for his legal defense, the latest initiative being a campaign to secure a Presidential pardon.

If you’d like to read Leonard’s heartbreaking but uplifting story in his own words, I highly recommend My Life is My Sun Dance:

A Glance in the Rear View

Here’s a nice back-of-the-house shot of the Radmilla Cody Band rockin’ the rocks out in the canyon last month at the annual Dinner in the Canyons fund-raising banquet and auction hosted by the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum in Palm Springs CA. Many thanks to the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians and everyone at ACCM for a wonderful evening of art, food, music and indigenous community!

Poem of the Month

We’ve had an extended summer here in Northern Sonora, with daytime highs in the 90’s persisting right up until All Hallow’s Eve and Dia de Los Muertos. The weather is about to break (so they say) and more seasonably cool temperatures are just around the corner; but on this holiday weekend when the veils (and our skins) are thin and we may be more than usually sensitive to the emotions and energies of our fellow creatures, this observation of the wild world outside my kitchen window here at Rancho Improvisoso seems a fitting choice for your November Poem of the Month:

At the Kitchen Window

A lonely javelina lies in wet dirt among

the gnarled roots of our ancient olive tree.

His bristled flanks heave irregularly as if

with sighs of longing for the herd he’s been

expelled from, or for a lone female with whom

to begin a new herd of his own. Honeybees

hover about him over the watering hole at sunset,

their incessant hum a hymn to solitude. His

eyelids droop with the long hot day’s fatigue;

occasionally his delicately bifurcated right rear hoof

twitches half in dream while in the air above him

a male cardinal makes an exclamation point the color of

fresh blood against the dusty green canopy and he

rears his blunt head when an all-too-real roadrunner

stalks by, more dinosaur than bird, intent on smaller prey.

His porcine snout samples the evening air with a sense

so much more finely-tuned than mine that even with

the forked tongue of speech at my command I can’t

approximate what those exquisite nerves detect.

I want to gently stroke his soft round ears, whisper

it’s all right, rest in cool and quiet peace a while.

Yours is not the only heavy heart in the desert tonight.

© Will Clipman 2014

(This is Javier, for those of you who’ve never seen a javelina!)

~Wishing one and all an abundant Thanksgiving season~