Greetings, One & All~
The 8th month makes me think of infinity–the 8 lying down to sleep and dream, so to speak–and of the way each ending is also a new beginning. Here in Northern Sonora, August is a month of intense heat and vast stillness, broken intermittently by earth-shaking thunder, sky-rending lightning and torrential rain: a time of extremes, of endings and beginnings. May you find a middle way between beginning and ending in this issue of your A 440 Newsletter and indeed on the path of life itself: the continuous curve of infinity between stasis and chaos.
Read on: good news lies ahead!
My fellow Canyon Records artist Roman Orona contacted me out of the blue recently about serving as a subject for his #iamHUMAN video project: a series of one-minute vignettes that tell the stories of people from all walks of life regardless of age, race, ethnicity, culture, gender, socioeconomic status, belief system or political persuasion–in their own voices and with their own selection of visual imagery–in a way that reveals our core humanity and makes our diversity something to embrace and celebrate rather than to fear and denigrate.
photo courtesy Charly Heavenrich Photography
Naturally, I jumped at the chance to be a part of this project: nothing could be more timely or necessary at this moment in human history than Roman’s vision and message. I hope you’ll view my clip at https://youtu.be/SrThruPAGRA as a gateway to the entire #iamHUMAN video portfolio and to Roman’s creative world.
Rocking the Sanctuary with Sacred Dance
When R. Carlos Nakai invited me to perform an evening of Music as Spiritual Manifestation with him in the temple at Tara Mandala I envisioned a contemplative evening of meditative sound. While there was plenty of that in our Awakening the Fire concert on July 9th, imagine my delight when a message from Lama Tsultrim Allione herself was whispered in my ear right before our finale to pump it up!
We were more than happy to oblige, and closed out a transformational evening of music with an extended dance jam that had the entire packed house polishing the beautiful wooden floor of the sanctuary to a high gloss with their bare feet.
Among the many memorable accolades showered on us at the post-concert meet-and-greet, one stood out for its uniqueness and originality: one of the ringleaders of our “Soul Train Dance-Off” dubbed us The Bad-Asses of Sound–so much for staid and stuffy stereotypes!
Awakening the Fire at the feet of the Golden Tara
RCNQ Tour Dates & Deets
The new R. Carlos Nakai Quartet album What Lies Beyond is finished and scheduled for retail release in mid-August, and the band is hitting the road to bring this incredible music to live audiences and seed the clouds with the first run of the physical CD:
on Wednesday August 17th we’ll be at eTownHall in Boulder CO: tickets & info at www.etown.org or 303.443.8696;
on Thursday August 18th we’ll be at the Rialto Theater in Loveland CO: tickets & info at www.rialtotheatercenter.org or 970.962.2120;
on Saturday August 20th we’ll be at the Four Corners School in Monticello UT: tickets & info at www.sandstoneconcerts.com or 970.243.8497;
and on Sunday August 21st we’ll be at the Durango Arts Center in Durango CO: tickets & info at www.durangoarts.tix.com or 970.259.2606.
RCNQ photo courtesy Shery Christopher Photography
TQ Studio Dates & Deets + Zocalo Feature
Temenos Quartet will return to Saint Cecilia Studios on August 1st & 2nd to record and mix the final four songs for its debut album Forecast with master engineer Steven Lee Tracy. Noted Tucson music writer, musician and impresario Jim Lipson will be popping in to document our process and preview the music for his double-feature article on Forecast and the new Trialogue CD for the September issue of the Old Pueblo’s coolest culture magazine Zocalo.
Thanks to all the wining-and-dining dancers who packed the tables, filled the floor, and made our Ambient Funk premiere at Monterey Court such a funky good time!
Ambient Funk photo courtesy Shery Christopher Photography
While that magical evening is fresh in your minds, mark your calendars for Thursday September 22nd: a Monterey Court double-bill with Trialogue & Temenos Quartet. Yours truly will on drums and percussion with both bands for double the dancing fun!
Tickets & info at www.montereycourtaz.com or 520.207.2429
Temenos Quartet photo courtesy PJ McArdle Photography
Trialogue photo courtesy J. Peter Mortimer Photography
And speaking of this year’s break-out contemporary instrumental trio, the latest in a virtual avalanche of airplay, rave reviews, chart placements and other accolades is this excellent exegesis by renowned music writer Bill Binkelman in Insight Magazine:
Sherry Finzer, Darin Mahoney, Will Clipman
Heart Dance Records
Renowned cross-genre flutist Sherry Finzer and guitarist Darin Mahoney made one of the more enjoyable albums of 2013, Transformation, a superb blend of desert ambiance and new age melodicism. On Trialogue, the pair team up with world-class drummer and percussionist Will Clipman and the results are every bit as spectacular as Transformation with the added pizzazz of Clipman’s superb rhythms layered over Finzer’s flutes and Mahoney’s guitars. Here, the mood is less subdued than on Transformation as the music touches on jazz (“Cote d’Ivoire,” “Top Down”), folk rock (“Dark Horse”) and world beat (“Midnight in Marrakech”), among other styles. It’s a superb cruising-down-the-highway listen.
Retailing Insight magazine
Nerve Chorus Vinyl Re-Issue
Talk about a blast from the past? Out of the blue, I recently received a request from Frank Bull at Vinyl-on-Demand, a German label that specializes in re-issuing vintage ’70’s & ’80’s cassette-only recordings, for permission to re-issue my very first solo recording Nerve Chorus as 7-inch vinyl!
After rubbing my eyes in disbelief that anyone still had a copy, let alone listened to it and loved it, I jumped at the chance to have this crazy proto-funk-punk-rap concoction made available to vinyl connoisseurs around the world.
I’ll keep you posted as this totally improbable opportunity progresses, but meanwhile here’s a scan Frank sent me of the original hand-drawn J-card from 1985, which I believe he’s going to adapt for the re-issue cover art. Yikes!
On July 22nd our beloved animal companion and spirit guide Merlyn left his body. He was our Buddha Bear, our Druid Dog, our Little Joy Boy. He lived a full life, loved well and was well-loved. We miss him more than words can say, yet feel his presence every day.
photo courtesy Shery Christopher Photography
Poem of the Month
If you are as weary as I am of the bullying, bigotry and braggadocio that dominates our public discourse these daze, you may find–as I did in writing it–some respite and revitalization in reading the August Poem of the Month: a quiet meditation on the strength and endurance it takes to embody peace and tranquility in a violent and chaotic world. Here’s to potentiality and possibility, in the present and for the future.
A Whole New World
a peaceful nature
The mother dove
motionless on her nest
in the eave of the ramada
absolutely alert all day
in the broiling heat
is an avatar of strength.
She is not afraid of you!
the vast stillness
that awaits us all.
the deafening silence
beyond our noise.
Inside her egg
a whole new world
© Will Clipman 2016
Photos of the Month
And coming full circle (or full figure-8, or full-infinity loop) I’d like to close with a triptych of gorgeous images by Shery Christopher that capture the endless cycle of beginnings, new growth and endings in a uniquely Rancho Improvisoso way.
Monsoon Sunrise courtesy Shery Christopher Photography
New Saguaro Arm courtesy Shery Christopher Photography
Monsoon Sunset courtesy Shery Christopher Photography
~Enjoy the daily miracles
abounding in your own backyard~
There is no what if;
there is only what is.
musician • poet • performing & recording artist • maskmaker • storyteller • educator