Greetings, One & All~
What a powerful time in The Old Pueblo, with the full Hunter’s Supermoon, All Soul’s Day and Dia de los Muertos aligning as the Sonoran Desert turns a cool, crisp, golden autumnal hue; and what a turbulent time of transformation all around our little oasis in space. It’s been a time to harvest the creative abundance of long-nurtured seed-plantings coming to fruition here in Willyworld, with a mindful balance of gratitude and generosity. Enjoy all the good vibes and good news in this November issue of your A 440 Newsletter!
~Be well and be in touch~
Ascending Atlas, the new single from your intrepid contemporary instrumental/new world music fusioneers STC, drops November 1st on all your favorite streaming and downloading platforms, all of which can be accessed with one easy click on our website URL below, along with our burgeoning catalog of previous releases. To my ears, this latest offering from guitarist & multi-midi-instrumentalist Chris Screven, bassist & flutist Joe Townend and drummer & percussionist Will Clipman carves a new benchmark for compositional creativity, mellifluous musicianship and pristine production values. . . but YOU, dear listener, will be the best judge of that!
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The first single Breath of Life from the new world/jazz/pop/rock trio Sol also drops November 1st, and can be enjoyed via the link below. Featuring Norwegian-American vocalist & multi-midi-instrumentalist Solvei, bassist & violinist Rob Paulus and drummer & percussionist Will Clipman, this uplifting, irresistibly groovy song prefigures the release of the trio’s album Connection. . . so watch this space for news on that!
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*The week of November 14th-19th, the LA-based and globe-trotting Solvei will return to Tucson for creative development of the Sol: Connection live show, as well as laying some very special guest vocal tracks for the new Rob Paulus project at Saint Cecilia Studios with master engineer Steven Lee Tracy. Yours truly was just in the studio at SCS last week adding exotic percussion and aerophones to the bed tracks Rob and I had previously recorded, joined by vocalists Liz Fletcher and Aria sweetening the sound with some mother-daughter harmonies!
Awakening the Fire
The never-ending mythic journey of R. Carlos Nakai & Will Clipman brings the legendary Native American flute maestro and his trusty pan-global percussionist to the renowned Mesa Arts Center in Mesa AZ for a one-hour Out to Lunch outdoor concert on Thursday November 9th from 12:30-1:30 PM. Savor the flavor of a tasty bite and sip, soak up southern Arizona’s glorious autumn weather and grab an autographed copy of the duo’s GRAMMY-nominated Canyon Records CD Awakening the Fire.
more info at:
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On Saturday November 11th at 3 PM, I will join vocalist, multi-instrumentalist and sound healer Abigail Fischer for Gratitude Gathering: A Musical Experience at the historic Grace Lutheran Church in downtown Phoenix AZ. The program will include pieces from Abigail’s classical repertoire, original compositions from our forthcoming album Remembrance: Music For Spiritual Alignment, and a special guest appearance by virtuoso organist Paul Lee. The live concert will be also be streamed online. VIP and general admission tickets are available by scanning the QR code embedded in the e-poster or clicking on the ticket link below; VIP tickets include front row seating and an additional online musical healing event conducted by Abigail.
I’m not on this record, I just love the music enough to recommend Slow Beethoven, the first release from the new label Round Sound, a subsidiary of The TANK Center for the Sonic Arts (a story worth looking into if you aren’t aware of this world-renowned and entirely unique performance and recording space in Rangely CO). Slow Beethoven was on this year’s first-round ballot for a GRAMMY Award in the Chamber Music Album/Small Ensemble Performance category; those votes have already been cast and the final ballot Nominees won’t be announced until November 10th (I’m voting for this album, and encourage my fellow Recording Academy Voting Members to do so) but all that aside, I just want to share this astounding music with my A 440 subscribers, and invite everyone to watch this space for future sonic TANK magic from Round Sound!
On Sunday November 26th at 10 AM I’ll take the long way home to Unity in the Valley in Sahuarita AZ for my monthly musical service with Tucson-based folk-rock goddess and peace warrior Amber Norgaard and all the friendly folks at Unity. These inclusive and welcoming convocations are free and open to all, and are always uplifting and inspiring. Lest you be one of the few people left on the planet who haven’t heard Amber’s visionary music, I recommend her masterwork Long Way Home as a fine introduction to her extensive catalog (full disclosure: yours truly plays all the drums on this one!).
Photos of the Month
Visitors to Rancho Improvisoso are always fascinated by our collared peccaries, colloquially known as javelinas, which are actually more closely related to the deer family than to swine, that impressive snout notwithstanding. This solitary male made himself quite comfy outside our kitchen window after vacuuming up the evening feeding intended for the rabbits, squirrels and birds. . . hence my nickname for him: J. Edgar the Hooverlina!
The youngsters are quite adorable, as these two yearlings demonstrate, trying their hand (or snout, as the case may be) foraging for food in imitation of their herd’s adults.
This female roadrunner, whom I call Rhonda, is exquisitely camouflaged among the limbs of a dead creosote behind the waterbowl in the south yard, her grays and blacks contrasted by the bright yellow roses Shery put out for the deer to nibble. Lizards, be wary!
Who knew coyotes were so fond of carrots? They’ll eat just about anything, which is one reason they are so successful at co-existing with humans. Another reason is their extreme caution around and avoidance of humans, which (present company excepted) is well-advised. This wily guy got to the carrots before the rabbits did. . . bunnies beware!
Our resident third-generation Cooper’s hawk Harriet III started the morning as she often does with a cool sip from the waterbowl in the west yard. . .
. . . then, exhibiting a behavior I had never before witnessed in over a quarter-century here at Rancho Improvisoso, decided a full-on dip in the pool would be even better?!
The Cooper’s hawks are regulars; it’s far more rare to spot the much larger Harris’s hawks in our Raptor Rapture Tree. These magnificent beasts are often mistaken for golden eagles because of their size and color; Harrison & Helena came by the other day to warm themselves in the early morning sun and didn’t mind posing for a portrait.
The rugged black crags of Tucson Mountains to the west of us are actually the lip of a vast ancient caldera, and these shots of a recent sunset reminded me that the volcanic fire of the living earth is still very much present.
Ah, the routinely glorious rays of a late October sunset here in northern Sonora, accentuating the passing storm clouds of an unexpected autumn shower . . . these blessings are always appreciated and never taken for granted, however often or infrequently we may get to enjoy them!
And so, the setting full Hunter’s Supermoon, with her handmaiden Venus leading the way to the horizon, peacefully concludes this month’s photographic portfolio: thank you, animals and plants and landscape and skyscape for your daily inspiration, and for making our world so beautiful and interesting!
Poem of the Month
A Last Time For Everything
My friend works on the volatile lip
of the largest active volcano on the planet,
so when he speaks of there being
a last time for everything, I listen.
Some days are discombobulated
from the moment one’s feet hit the floor;
other days, each moment is a magical island
of experience in the ceaseless current of time.
Another friend’s ancestral home is in Orion’s Belt,
so when he identifies thirty-six blinking white lights
traveling in a perfectly straight line across the night sky
as an arrow pointing from beginning to end, I listen.
I know that however much one might accomplish
there will always be so much more left undone,
but some things are just too audacious to thwart
like this palo verde sprout on a sawed-off stump,
or like Lin Zhao, shackled to a chair and beaten
for the crime of publishing poems about freedom,
piercing her fingertip with a sharpened toothbrush
and writing on scraps of paper in her own blood;
after she was taken out from her rubber-padded cell
in a leather hood that barely allowed her to breathe
or see let alone speak and executed by gunshot
her family was made to pay for the bullet.
Sometimes one doesn’t realize until years later
that that was that; other times one knows
instantly that this is it. Either way,
there is a last time for everything.
There was a last time for you to be here then
So you could be there now, resting under desert stars
between disciplined days of meaningful work
while leaving the tiniest of carbon footprints.
There will be a last time to uncoil the stiff hose
and let it grow supple in the warm morning sun
now that we’re past the season of water so scalding
I couldn’t bear to hold the nozzle in my bare hand.
Yes, I did love homesteading on the urban frontier
and planting a riparian bosque on the small corner lot
surrounding that historic 1903 Sonoran Mud Box
with thirteen-foot ceilings and foot-thick adobe walls.
Still, there came a last morning then for picking up
shell casings off the sidewalk with the Sunday paper
and being startled to bump into an old flame
strung out and hooking on my block,
just as there has come a last time now to catch
the simultaneously rising sun and setting supermoon
on this little knoll near the lip of an extinct volcano,
this ground I call sacred since at last it is where I belong.
© Will Clipman 2023
~May your harvest be abundant
and your gratitude balanced with generosity~
I used to be driven. Now I’m parked.
poet ~ percussionist ~ maskmaker ~ storyteller ~ performing artist ~ educator
Harvesting Abundance: Your November 2023 A 440 Newsletter
Greetings, One & All~