Greetings, One & All~

As we approach the solstice, the hot, dry, dusty, pollen-laden winds of late spring are beginning to subside and The Old Pueblo is beginning to settle into the profound stillness of early summer in the Sonoran Desert. Your humble narrator is following nature’s lead by settling into a somewhat quieter spell of reflection and creative development after a whirlwind first half of 2021. With my apologies for the travel-delayed delivery, please enjoy the June issue of your A 440 Newsletter. Be well, be of good cheer and be in touch!

Woodside Way

As wonderful as all three of my retreats at Canyon Ranch Woodside have been, I’d have to say Rhythms of Restoration & Renewal was the most transformational for participants and the most personally fulfilling for me, resonating profoundly as it did with this particular cultural, social and historical moment. I look forward to further adventures among the redwoods in what I have come to think of as The Woodside Way.

Warming up the drums for our Saturday evening session

Looking up from the balcony of our Treehouse lodging

The mystical evening mist moving in from the coast

Feelin’ Good

The R. Carlos Nakai Trio will showcase its ever-evolving global native fusion sound at the Feel Good Festival in Atlanta GA on Sunday July 18th. Looking further out, we have also just re-booked our twice-postponed concert on the Hotel Congress Plaza stage in Tucson AZ for Sunday November 14th.

RC, Amo & Will workin’ out in The Boom Boom Room at Rancho Improvisoso

photo courtesy Shery Christopher Photography

photo courtesy Shery Christopher Photography

photo courtesy Shery Christopher Photography

Quintessential Quartet

The new acoustic world-jazz ensemble featuring Marshall Jones on guitar, Rob Paulus on bass and violin, Cantrell Maryott on vocals, and yours truly on percussion played its first gig at a private event in Tucson recently to rave reviews from all in attendance. We look forward to playing out more as we document our evolution with audio and video recording at Rob’s Midtown Music Loft.

Heart Dance

I will be in the studio this summer to record tracks for a new Heart Dance Records trio project with flutist Sherry Finzer and multi-instrumentalist Cass Anawaty. Looking further out, the HDR trio Trialogue, featuring Sherry, guitarist Darin Mahoney and yours truly, is slated for a Cul-de-Sac Concert in Anthem AZ on Sunday November 6th.

Wolf Music

To-Ree-Nee Wolf and yours truly continue to develop our Will & The Wolf show 8th Day toward its world premiere at Tucson’s iconic Invisible Theatre on November 18th, 19th & 20th. To whet your appetite for what this dynamic duo of atavistic avatars will bring to the stage next fall, check out this brilliant solo concert To-Ree-Nee recently filmed for Arizona Arts Alive at the University of Arizona’s Centennial Hall.

Will & The Wolf workin’ out in The Boom Boom Room at Rancho Improvisoso

photo courtesy Shery Christopher Photography

Crystal & Clay

Our demo for the new Crystal & Clay concept album by crystal bowl artist Tryshe Dhevney and yours truly on udu has been mixed and mastered by Jim Blackwood and is ready to pitch to White Swan Records in the coming weeks.

Photos of the Month

I’m no Shery Christopher as a nature photographer, but when I was startled to see a Harris’s Hawk on the south water bowl the other day, I at least had the presence of mind to grab my phone and snap a couple of shots. We’ve seen these magnificent birds hunting in their characteristic packs of three on our property, but have never seen one up close like this. These largest of our desert hawks are often mistaken for Golden Eagles because of their size and color; you can tell this one is a juvenile by the burnt orange shoulders and lightly variegated breast feathers. Enjoy a little Raptor Rapture from Rancho Improvisoso in your June Photos of the Month, as this beauty poses balletically balanced on one leg!

Poem of the Month

To bring us full circle: this poem was composed over the weeks prior to my departure for my Rhythms of Restoration & Renewal retreat at Canyon Ranch Woodside. As it gradually took form, it struck me as being very much in harmony with the intention and awareness of the retreat. I took it with me to share as a prompt with the folks in my Friday evening writing workshop there, and their enthusiastic reaction to it convinced me to share it with you as your June Poem of the Month. Enjoy!

A Natural Form

We must be permitted our personal mythologies

or it’s just too bland and bleak a world; so

the question then becomes

can we walk the razor’s edge

and chew fresh ginger at the same time,

can we hold two diametrically opposite thoughts in mind,

not one per hemisphere but both in both?

I see the fire-dancing goddess you are, so naturally

I’m mesmerized, yet I want nothing from you

but for you to be who you are and do what you love.

Et voilà! Two opposite valves in the heart

let flow both blue blood in and red blood out,

labial ululations mirroring.

All is all.

To be one with all is to include everything

and exclude nothing, not even nothingness.

As chaos engulfs us more profoundly we crave

some semblance of order—not a litany of isms

but a natural form: a musical harmony and rhythm,

each beat allowed its breathing space,

each sound its surrounding silence.

© Will Clipman 2021

~May your days and nights in June be calm and clear
as we celebrate the the longest day of the solar year~

There is subtle beauty and meaning to be found in stillness and silence.

~Guillaume Henri

Will Clipman

poet ~ percussionist ~ maskmaker ~ storyteller ~ performing artist ~ educator