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August 16, 2012
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'Transformative' music in Grand Junction

Native American flute player R. Carlos Nakai and percussionist Will Clipman will perform a benefit concert for Western Colorado Congress Saturday, Aug. 25, at the Avalon Theatre.A Native American of Navajo-Ute heritage, Nakai spends his time - when not touring - between Tucson, Ariz., and the Uncompahgre Plateau where he and his wife have spent summers for the past 15 years. During that time, Nakai has also been a member of Western Colorado Congress, an alliance for community action that works to create healthy, sustainable communities."Much of what WCC is involved with is environmentally concerned," Nakai said. "That's critical to us because of the nature of where we live," in Ouray County.The classically trained Nakai will perform a couple of flute solos, with Clipman joining him on percussion for most of the show.Clipman calls himself a "pan-global percussionist," meaning his instruments represent cultures worldwide."The instruments are from every continent on earth, except Antarctica," Clipman said. "I have over 100 on my palette."Clipman said he plans to bring more than a dozen of those instruments to the Grand Junction show. Most of the music is original, often improvisational, and influenced by an array of styles, including jazz, African, Cuban, classical and Brazilian. "It really is world music, with Native American flute being the focal point," Clipman said.Nakai said sometimes he takes a traditional tune and arranges it to be "more contemporary in nature."Nakai has released more than 35 albums on the Canyon label since 1983, with various ensembles including Clipman. The two are currently working on a duet CD of percussion and flute that they expect to finish around the end of the year.At the Avalon Theatre, "we'll be doing some improvisational (music) similar to the new recording project," Nakai said."We like to think of it as transformative music," Clipman said. "It's entertainment, but there's a deeper level to it."-Oftentimes ,audience members will come up to the musicians after the show to say how deeply the concert affected them, Clipman said.The improvisational nature of their performances makes each show unique."RC (R. Carlos) likes to say, 'this evening's performance is just for you,'" Clipman said. "It only happens once. That's the special thing about our shows."Nakai earned two gold records for "Canyon Trilogy" and "Earth Spirit," and has received nine Grammy nominations. Clipman has been nominated six times for a Grammy, including for his solo CD "Pathfinder" - an album he composed, arranged and performed totally solo. Clipman has also won the Native American music award three times.Nakai and Clipman have toured all over the world, and perform most often as a trio with William Eaton. The three musicians have played together for 20 years, and toured Russia in April. Their CD titled "Dancing into Silence" was nominated for a Grammy in 2010 for Best New Age Album.

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The Post Independent Updated Aug 16, 2012 04:39PM Published Aug 16, 2012 04:20PM Copyright 2012 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.