Wingbeat bios

R. Carlos Nakai & Will Clipman

R. Carlos Nakai & Will Clipman

R. Carlos Nakai is the world’s premier performer of the Native American flute.  Nakai’s first album Changes was released by Canyon Records in 1983, and since then he has released thirty-six albums with Canyon, plus additional albums and guest appearances on other labels. In addition to his educational workshops and residencies, Nakai has appeared as a soloist throughout the United States, Europe, and Japan, and has collaborated with flutist Paul Horn, harp-guitarist William Eaton, pianist Peter Kater, composer James DeMars, producer Billy Williams and percussionist Will Clipman, among many others. The famed choreographer Martha Graham used Nakai’s second album Cycles in her last work Night Chant.  Nakai contributed music to the major motion pictures New World (New Line) and Geronimo (Columbia). He founded the R. Carlos Nakai Quartet to explore the intersection of ethnic and jazz idioms, and brought the Native American flute into the classical concert hall, performing with over fifteen symphony and chamber orchestras. Nakai was a featured soloist on the Philip Glass composition, Piano Concert No. 2: After Lewis & Clark, premiered by the Omaha Symphony; and a lead soloist in the premiere of Guadalupe, Our Lady of the Roses, an opera by James DeMars. Always in search of opportunities for cross-cultural collaborations, Nakai has recorded and performed with Tibetan flutist and chanter Nawang Khechog, Hawaiian slack-key guitarist and singer Keola Beamer, Israeli cellist Udi Bar-David, and the Wind Travelin’ Band, a traditional Japanese ensemble from Kyoto. Nakai earned an RIAA Platinum Record for Canyon Trilogy and a Gold Record for Earth Spirit, the only Native American recordings to achieve these milestones. He has sold over four million albums worldwide. His eleven GRAMMY® nominations include his duo album with Will Clipman Awakening the Fire. He has also won eight Native American Music Awards. A Navy veteran, Nakai earned a Master’s Degree in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona.  He was awarded the Arizona Governor’s Arts Award in 1992, and an honorary doctorate from Northern Arizona University in 1994. In 2005 Nakai was inducted into the Arizona Music & Entertainment Hall of Fame. He has also authored a book, The Art of the Native American Flute, a guide to performing the traditional cedar flute.

Will Clipman began playing his father’s drums and his mother’s piano at the age of three, and has mastered a pan-global palette of percussion instruments in addition to the traditional drumkit since playing his first professional gig at the age of fourteen. His seven GRAMMY® nominations include his solo album Pathfinder and his duo album with R. Carlos Nakai Awakening the Fire. Will is a three-time Native American Music Award winner, a New Age Reporter Music Award Winner, a Zone Music Reporter Award winner, and a two-time TAMMIE Award winner, and has been inducted into the Tucson Musicians Museum for his contributions to the musical community in his hometown. He has recorded over sixty albums, including over thirty for Canyon Records, where he is regarded as the house percussionist. In addition to his on-going collaborations with R. Carlos Nakai and other internationally acclaimed artists and ensembles, Will’s solo performances and workshops Myths & Masks® and Planet of Percussion® showcase his original mask art, mythopoetic storytelling, and multicultural world music.

Robert Mesta & Jessie

Robert Mesta & Jessie

Robert Mesta will be leading our Guided Bird Trail Walks. He recently retired as an ornithologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He spent his professional career working to protect, conserve, and recover threatened and endangered North American bird populations.  His area of expertise is the recovery of endangered birds of prey.  He directed national and international-level programs to recover the California condor, bald eagle, peregrine falcon, and the masked bobwhite quail.  Robert coordinated the California Condor Recovery Program from 1990 to 2000.  In 1992, he directed the first reintroduction of captive-bred condors back to the wild in southern California and in 1996, he led the successful release of condors into the Grand Canyon.  In the 1980's Robert established the highly successful Arizona Bald Eagle Nest-Watch Program and was a member of the National Bald Eagle Recovery Team that down listed the Bald eagle from endangered to threatened in 1995.  As leader of the National Peregrine Falcon Recovery Team, he wrote the rule that removed the peregrine falcon form the Endangered Species List after its successful recovery.  As leader of the Masked Bobwhite Quail Recovery Team Robert worked to establish a captive breeding and release program in Mexico to re-establish this endangered sub-species to its historical range in Sonora, Mexico.  From 1999 to 2015 he coordinated the Sonoran Joint Venture, a bi-national bird conservation program between the United States and Mexico. 

Charlie Onehorse

Charlie Onehorse

Charlie Onehorse, born in Mexico, is a Yaqui man who learned much of his traditions from his grandmother and the various tribes he worked and lived with.  He is the director of Adventure Coyote, a program that takes groups of people out into the Arizona desert for camping, hiking, tours, and Rites of Passage programs.

Spirit

Spirit

Given the name Sweet Medicine, Spirit was destined to become a holistic practitioner. Spirit is a native Tucsonan and by the age of 13, knew her place in helping the world was in the healing arts. For 18 years, she has dedicated her practice to mastering trauma release-based modalities for reintegration of the mind-body connection.

Being a trauma survivor herself, Spirit knows her work has, in so many ways, saved her life and her sanity. Spirit has worked with men, women, and children from all walks of survival. She has treated athletes, first responders, clients with eating disorders, survivors of sexual assault, and patients who have been involved in automobile accidents. 

Spirit graduated from Desert Institute of the Healing Arts, Tucson, Arizona, in 2002, fulfilling the massage therapy requirement of 1000 hours. She has owned and operated Health Through Awareness, in Tucson, since 2011. Her mastery modality skills include: Ashiatsu, Thai massage, neuromuscular therapy, sports injury rehabilitation, and bio-touch.