Greetings, One & All~

As another full and fleeting year winds down, yours truly is gearing up for a festive stretch run. Holidays are holy days and this holiday season will be filled with the celebratory sound of music here in Willyworld.

Allow me to share some joyous winter solstice tidings!

Musical Magic in the Garden

I’ll continue my sixteen-night run at Las Noches de Las Luminarias throughout the month of December, a veritable plethora of polyrhythmic pan-global percussion permeating the brilliantly illuminated pathways of the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix AZ to the delight of thousands of visitors, with nightly performances from 5:30 PM-9:30 PM on Sunday-Thursday December 1-5, Friday-Wednesday December 13-18, and Thursday-Saturday December 26-28 at the Akimel O’odham Ramada.

Planet of Percussion just prior to the Garden gates opening at sundown
photo courtesy ICU Imagery

The event has been sold out every night so far, so advance tickets are recommended and can be obtained at

My interactions with audiences have been so high-energy that I’ve blown right through my scheduled intermissions and have performed for four hours straight each night–talk about the transformational power of music! As always at Lumi, my CDs and DVDs will be available for purchase and holiday gift-giving in The Garden Shop.

Canyon Records at Tempe Festival of the Arts

Akimel O’odham means River People, and their ancestral homeland encompasses the Salt River Valley where both Phoenix and Tempe are presently situated; so it is fitting that I’ll cross over from Desert Botanical Garden on the north bank of the Rio Salado to the Tempe Festival of the Arts on the south bank to appear at the Canyon Records Booth & Stage on Friday December 6th from 11 AM-4 PM, doing mini-performances throughout the day, interspersed with meet-and-greet CD signings. Information about the festival can be found at

Sending drum signals on the desert wind
photo courtesy R.C. Clipman Photography

Winter Dreams at Changing Hands

On Wednesday December 11th at 7 PM I’ll appear with the Wilde Boys (aka R. Carlos Nakai, William Eaton & Will Clipman) for our annual holiday concert and CD-signing event at Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe AZ. This intimate venue always fills up fast, so early arrival is recommended and pre-purchased CDs guarantee seating. More information for this show can be found at

Solstice Concerts in Cottonwood

Those self-same Wilde Boys R. Carlos Nakai, William Eaton & Will Clipman will then transport their musical magic to Old Town Center for the Arts in Cottonwood AZ for two winter solstice weekend shows on Friday December 20th at 7:30 PM and Saturday December 21st at 7 PM. These shows typically sell out early as well, so advance tickets are recommended and can be reserved at

New Media for the New Year

My remarkably insightful interview with Jim Laveroni, the musically and culturally astute host of the Percussion Discussion show on KRCB 91 FM (the PBS/NPR affiliate broadcasting out of Rohnert Park CA) was live-streamed on Thanksgiving Night, and will be available as an archived podcast once post-production editing is complete. Warm up your new year’s airwaves with this wide-ranging rhythmic conversation at

And speaking of warming up your new year’s airwaves, Awakening the Fire has just been added to the playlist by DJ Mystic Sister (gotta love that on-air moniker) on WMHB 89.7 FM broadcasting out of Colby College in Waterville ME. Give the sister a shout-out and ask for your favorite cut!

Poem of the Month

Coming full circle to the transformational power of music as our seasonal theme, December’s Poem of the Month is one I wrote about twenty years ago that still rings true for me today with the inexhaustibly innocent joy and creativity of childhood, harkening back to magical memories of the winter solstice season and reconnecting to my earliest experiences with the mysteries of the drum. Enjoy!

Perfect Time

The best drummer I ever heard

was a Guatemalan girl not more than four or five

on a street corner in Nogales, Sonora.

Her father played bass drum and trumpet

and she played snare

while her mother and siblings–two toddlers,

a third in a sling, and a fourth in the oven–

begged money from passers-by.

Her backbeat was impeccable, her accents inspired

by heat, hunger, and the rhythms of traffic and feet.

I looked into her obsidian eyes

to find the secret of her perfect time

but her stare was opaque, her expression

ancient and changeless as Mayan stone.

Her hands had lives of their own

obeying only the song’s unbroken pulse.

She knew in her blood, nerves, and bones

what shamans and firewalkers know:

how to be here and not here, self and other,

flesh and spirit simultaneously. She played

the immense and perfect signature of the universe

on and on to its natural conclusion,

finished with a dramatic roll–

the only moment her face showed a trace of effort–

then calmly sat down on the pavement to rest.

And I walked back across the border

carrying my changed life.

© William Clipman 2013, from Wilderness in the Marrow; originally published in TumbleWords: Writers Reading the West / University of Nevada Press)

The Little Drummer Boy’s first Christmas

photo courtesy Clipman Family Archives

~May the magic of the holiday season warm your heart
and may your new year be filled with peace and prosperity~

Another Little Drummer Boy, source unknown