Greetings, One & All~
Our monsoon season has arrived early this summer, bringing the gift of long-awaited and much-needed rain to the Sonoran Desert. For the ol’ Desert Drummer, July is traditionally a time for creatively recharging, celebrating personal milestones and savoring life’s simple pleasures here at Rancho Improvisoso. Please enjoy the imagery reflected in this issue of your A 440 Newsletter, delivered with a warm Willyworld welcome to new subscribers and a heartfelt hello to family, friends and fans!
Our 90-minute improvisational musical meditation at the Center for Indigenous Music & Culture was inspirational to say the least, and was warmly received by a packed house of enthralled participants. Many thanks to Chad & Betsy Hamill for hosting the event; to Chad Hamill for his impeccable tamboura and sacred singing; to Houman Pourmehdi for his masterful Persian percussion and poetry; to Pirayeh Pourafar for her scintillating strings; and of course to R. Carlos Nakai for holding the stillpoint at the center of the sonic swirl, propelled by the pulse of yours truly on udu.
The Renaissance of the North American Flute Foundation convocation at Northern Arizona University was a world music whirlwind of a different sort: my workshops were well-attended and well-received by an eclectic and talented array of aerophonic avatars, and the culminating performance headlined by the R. Carlos Nakai Quartet with yours truly on drums & percussion was a genuinely stellar all-star extravaganza.
The Storm Before the Calm: could we possibly fit any more gear on stage?!
Another Miracle on Miracle Mile
In a renaissance of yet another variety, Temenos Quartet (with yours truly on drums & percussion) convened a sizzlin’ Summer Solstice Celebration Concert at Monterey Court (the epicenter of the on-going “Miracle on Miracle Mile”) adding its Music for the New Timeline to the resurgence of culture and community on the Old Pueblo’s fabled strip.
To’Ree’Nee Wolf weaving her wordsmithing magic
“Golden Girl” Heidi Wilson blowin’ her own horn
The irrepressible AmoChip Dabney feelin’ the groove
Yours truly, just takin’ it all in with a grin from behind the skins
Bringing the Music to the People
And speaking of Temenos Quartet, you’re invited to participate in the production of TQ’s first album, in return for unimaginably cool perks!
As many of you know, I humbly aspire to make timeless music. This new Five-Star Amazon review renews my hope that I may be on the right path with Pathfinder!
This is one completely gorgeous album! So many wonderful drum & percussion instruments played with great skill and care by Will Clipman. . . . The recording quality is also superb. You might think that an all drum & percussion album might be boring, but this album is a complete delight to listen to! So refreshing and powerful!
~Paul Avgerinos, Round Sky Music
Poem of the Month
Life is rhythm and rhythm is life. July’s Poem of the Month contemplates the opposite mysteries of transience and permanence: how can it be that the physical embodiment passes with the fleeting beauty of the rose, and yet the essence remains forever fresh in the realm of the spirit? Ah, so. . . once begun, the heartbeat goes on!
A unifying rhythm of our life:
week in and week out I bring her
roses: they brighten the house with
explosions of color, and once their
brief candles blow out the stems
are tossed like I Ching sticks
outside the kitchen gate, the petals
saved and dried in a wicker basket.
Year in and year out at the solstices
she walks the path around our land
and strews the petals with prayers
of invitation: health, harmony, happiness,
peace, prosperity and above all love,
the alchemy of which is equal measures
adoration and admiration, homegrown
day in and day out with endless bloom.
© Will Clipman 2015
Photos of the Month
Our deer medicine has been exceptionally strong throughout the Spring and into the Summer here at Rancho Improvisoso. I alerted Shery to yet another visitation early the other morning, as a herd of eight mule deer–including two young bucks with budding velvet antlers–stopped by for a drink on their way back up into the mountains from their nocturnal foraging down in the river bottom, and she snapped these quick shots through our Window on the Wild:
My, what big ears you have!
Los Tres Thirsty Amigos
Not just for the birds!
Time to head out. . . .
Don’t get left behind!
May your July be blessed
with a perfect balance
of sunshine and rain,
and may your path be crossed
by wild things!
When one has made one’s home in paradise,
one needn’t travel farther than one’s own backyard in search of it.
musician • poet • performing & recording artist • maskmaker • storyteller • educator