Greetings, One & All~
As we emerge from the hot wet late summer monsoon season here in Northern Sonora and begin to round the bend toward the cooler drier days of early autumn, Father Sky continues to bless the desert with life-giving rain, and Mother Earth continues to respond with subtle yet profuse abundance. Here in Willyworld, there is a corresponding abundance of good news to share for September–enjoy!
This tidbit came in too late to include in your August A 440 Newsletter, but it’s too juicy not to chew on a bit longer: on August 30th, R. Carlos Nakai and myself enjoyed a live on-air interview with Jay Winter Nightwolf, host of American Indian Truths: The Most Dangerous Show on Radio on WPFW Radio 89.3 FM out of Washington, DC. Jay played his favorite cuts from Awakening the Fire, explored the history of our collaboration and the creative process behind our latest recording, and engaged us in a wide-ranging trialogue on all things indigenous.
You can replay the show at
by selecting Archived Programs from the Programming Menu in the top toolbar, scrolling down to the Nightwolf Show for Friday August 30th, and clicking on Play.
Awakening the Fire also received not one but two mentions in the influential A Train Autumn Newsletter: one in reference to noted music writer Bill Binkelman’s stellar review of the album, and one in reference to our nomination for the coveted Indian Summer Music Award. You can check these items out at
by scrolling down to the Charts & Reviews section.
On Stage in September
On Friday September 13th (my lucky day!) at 11 AM PST, Solvei & ZumaSOL will appear live on the KGUN-9 TV Morning Blend show, playing a couple of sizzling selections from our current concert repertoire and interviewing with the hosts.
On Saturday September 14th at 7 PM, Solvei & ZumaSOL will perform a free concert at the historic Tucson Fox Theatre as part of the Second Saturdays Downtown Series. Fronted by international singing and dancing sensation Solvei, ZumaSOL features the incomparable AmoChip Dabney on bass, sax, and harmony vocals, LA session ace and original ZumaSOL member Brad Strickland on guitar, and yours truly on pan-global drums and percussion. Steve Kemper of Kemper Productions will be flying in from Maui to film this performance in the gorgeous atmosphere of the Fox, and we’d love to capture your positive energy as part of the experience.
On Saturday September 28th at 7:30 PM, Solvei & ZumaSOL will travel north to Cottonwood to perform at Old Town Center for the Arts, central Arizona’s premiere concert venue. We’ll have harp guitar guru William Eaton running sound for us on his custom in-house system, the lovely and talented Christine Eaton artfully designing our lights and projections, and the always-gracious Elena Bullard impeccably emceeing the event; so we’re hoping we can persuade Steve to extend his Sonoran sojourn long enough to film this show as well.
Tickets and info at
Your humble Canyon drummer is included not once, not twice, but three times on the prestigious new Heard Museum compilation HAVE YOU HEARD? including the CD’s opening cut, Oasis, which is also happens to be the opening cut from Awakening the Fire by R. Carlos Nakai & Will Clipman. Produced by Kristen Butler for Canyon Records, this Signature CD is available exclusively through the Heard Museum Store at
The Man Behind the Mask
I’m excited and delighted to preview a number of Fall Myths & Masks events: in addition to performances on the Old Town Artisans Stage for the iconic Tucson Meet Yourself Festival on Saturday October 12th and Sunday October 13th, and at Plaza Colonial for the Pima Library Foundation Annual Fundraising Gala on Thursday October 24th, I’ll be offering a weekend maskmaking master class in the Kiva Room at Western National Parks Association in Oro Valley on Saturday & Sunday, October 19th & 20th.
This workshop is entitled Myths & Masks at WNPA: The Living Embodiment of Dia de Los Muertos, and will explore the ancient and contemporary expressions of this fascinating multicultural tradition through the media of maskmaking, mythic persona poetry and performance.
There will be more details on these events in your October A 440 Newsletter, of course; but advance registration for the limited-enrollment WNPA workshop is available on-line now at
Poem of the Month
I included a poem at the end of last month’s A 440 Newsletter as a spur-of-the-moment inspiration, and much to my surprise it precipitated more positive commentary than anything else in the August issue! Based on that response, I’m going to try out a new Poem of the Month feature: this one has the distinction of being the Official Dedicatory Poem of the Joel D. Valdez Main Library in downtown Tucson, and is of about the same vintage as the last one, both having been written about a quarter-century ago. Poetry, like fine wine, improves with age; nevertheless, I promise to proffer more current material as this new feature matures. . . .
The Quiet Power
As a child I loved the smell of thousands of books:
some thumb-worn and dog-eared, some pristine
with bindings that crackled and pages redolent
of pulp and ink, into which I’d plunge my face
and deeply inhale the aroma of wisdom. Others
had gone unread for ages: thick leatherbound ones
coated with dust and loaded with unpronounceable
words. These I would open like a tomb-robber
and plunder for treasure with archaeological lust.
I walked in constant terror and beauty, then as now,
on a thin sheet of ice over an infinite abyss,
and the quiet power of the alphabet always calmed me
with a sense of something larger and longer-lived:
the simple act of opening and leafing through,
the abstract sculpture of the poems, the stories
that never ended even when the pages went blank.
Those moments spent in solitude and silence
let me believe life would be livable after all,
gave me courage to walk back out of the library
into the noise and glare of the ordinary world
carrying my cargo of books, my language, my love.
(© 2013 Will Clipman; from Wilderness in the Marrow, and previously published in the magazine Rhetoric Review)
May your summer end in beauty
and your autumn begin in balance~
be well and be in touch!