Greetings, One & All~
Happy New Year, everyone! This will be a year of lucky sevens aligning numerologically here in Willyworld: the year itself, my birthday, and the date of the 56th Annual GRAMMY® Awards (for which I’ve just received my seventh nomination) each add up to seven. I make no predictions, and there are never any guarantees, but I feel very positive about the way things are shaping up this year, and I’d like to share the good vibrations in the form of your first A 440 Newsletter for 2014. . . .
In the Studio
I’ll jumpstart the new year with my first recording session of 2014 on Monday January 6th (and again on Thursday January 9th if we’re having too much fun) with soulful singer/songwriter Lori Laska Sumberg and master engineer Jim Pavett at Allusion Studios, spicing up Lori’s new album Farther to Run with some of that ol’ udu voodoo that I do so well, along with the rest of my panoply of pan-global percussion.
Will spanks the clay with Lori’s OK
In the AiR
Beginning on Friday January 10th and continuing through Friday January 17th, I’ll conduct my first Artist-in-Residency of the new year at Sonoran Sky School in Scottsdale AZ where I’ll inspire third grade students to explore the Science of Sound through hands-on experiences with my pan-global percussive palette.
I closed out last year with my very best Las Noches de Las Luminarias event ever, performing solo for sixteen nights in December at the fabled Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix AZ, in conjunction with a fabulous installation of otherworldly Chihuly Glass Art. Photographer Ron Banfeil shared this image with me for me to share with you:
Hangin’ with the Hang at Lumi
I was blessed with clear, dry, relatively warm weather, impeccable support from the DBG management and crew, and energetically engaged audiences throughout the run, and I played four hours non-stop every single night just because I was having too much fun to break my rhythm–move over, Energizer Bunny–Wilde Willy C playin’ through!
Nakai, Eaton & Clipman in Concert
And speaking of the Wilde Boys, we’ll launch our 2014 performance schedule on Friday January 24th with a school presentation at 9:45 AM and a public concert at 8 PM, both at the beautiful new Higley Center for the Performing Arts in Gilbert AZ.
Info and tickets for this show at
The Wilde Boys relaxing backstage (courtesy John Running Photography)
It’s GRAMMY® Time!
As most of you know, R. Carlos Nakai & Will Clipman have been honored with a New Age Album nomination for their latest Canyon Records CD Awakening the Fire; yours truly will be in Los Angeles on Sunday January 26th for the 56th Annual GRAMMY® Awards, and I’ll pack light with the notion that I might have a little extra weight on the return flight–all positive energy and good vibrations welcome!
Someone in the audience at my Lumi gig the other night asked me why music like Awakening the Fire would be categorized as New Age when “it sounds so ancient,” which I thought was an excellent question. My response was that, in my opinion, it is because the music is ancient its sources, instrumentation and sensibility yet futuristic in its spirit, intelligence and vision.
photo courtesy Robert Doyle Photography/Canyon Records
This is the tenth GRAMMY® nomination for R. Carlos, the seventh for me, and the thirty-second for our label Canyon Records. Regardless of the outcome, I’m genuinely proud of our music and truly grateful for the profoundly positive impact it continues to have on our listeners around the world.
Top Lists & Hot Links
Lots of new media to share in the new year:
Awakening the Fire made the Top Ten World & Traditional Albums of 2013 list on The Whole Music Experience and was generously featured on the White Swan Records New Releases page even though it’s not even on that label–thank you, Selena–a perfect example of what New Age really means!
Our GRAMMY® nomination was featured in a beautifully-designed e-blast from A Train Entertainment, which can be viewed at
Awakening the Fire came in at #19 on the prestigious Best of Echoes 2013 Listener Poll, which can be viewed at
And our hometown newspaper The Arizona Daily Star featured our GRAMMY® nomination in a congratulatory blog, which can be viewed at
Poem of the Month
One constant in my life over the last thirty-six years has been wearing a groove in the stretch of I-10 between Tucson, where I live, and Phoenix, where I work a lot. Many travelers find it to be a featureless and boring one hundred miles of desert highway, but for me it is an endlessly various and nuanced landscape that remains full of subtle surprises even after thousands of traversals. This poem was written about this time of year, many years ago, during one such drive.
Winter of the Hawk
As farmers bring in sorghum and alfalfa
from the vast flat mosaic
between Canada del Oro and the Gila River
and pack their winter cotton
into bales big as box cars,
the other bumper crop is hawk:
they are everywhere this year,
sleek, fat, clear-eyed killers
perched in bare trees,
on fence posts, power poles, saguaros,
billboards–even on the tip
of the straw jutting skyward
from the giant soft drink
available for only 69 cents
at the Toltec Road McDonald’s–
warming puffed-up chests in horizontal sunlight,
scanning the fields
for any sign of carelessness.
Framed against low rugged mountains
sculpted out of mist by dawn
they soar, dive, mate, cavort, and hunt,
reclaiming the neatly mutilated desert
from pesticides and pellet guns.
They gaze over the ostrich ranch
at the foot of Picacho Peak
and dream big.
Once, mind clear, one cruised
just ahead of the windshield at seventy,
dropped its talons for a moment,
thought better of it,
and peeled off into the blur.
Now, out on the reservation
between Snaketown and San Tan,
new lambs cling to their ewes
while rams eye their fence-line horizon
with ungulate suspicion: beyond their vision
hawks patrol the Superstitions
powdered with early snow.
© William Clipman 2014, from Wilderness in the Marrow; previously published in TumbleWords: Writers Reading the West (University of Nevada Press)
May this new year be peaceful and prosperous for all,
and may your special fire continue to awaken!
Reaching for the stars reminds us we are made of the same stuff they are.
musician • poet • performing & recording artist • maskmaker • storyteller • educator