The Sun Dog Twins (Will Clipman and Leon Joseph Littlebird) fuse elements of guitar-driven folk-rock, troubadour balladry and contemplative Native American flute with the heartbeat of drums and world percussion to create a new genre of music they call Big Skillet: inclusive and effusive, traditional yet unconventional, with a boundary-crossing originality both timely and timeless. Woven throughout the duo’s multi-instrumental sonic tapestry, Littlebird’s rich baritone and poetic lyrics provide a thematic unity to the music. A Sun Dog Twins concert encompasses songs of social conscience, romantic love, and historical Americana, intermingled with intimate instrumental duets that feature Clipman’s pan-global palette of indigenous instruments and Littlebird’s deft guitar and flute artistry. Both musicians are also gifted raconteurs, segueing from song to song with insightful and entertaining storytelling that humanizes and illuminates their music for audiences of all ages and tastes.
A third-generation native of Colorado with ancestral roots in both pioneer and Native American cultures, Leon Joseph Littlebird is a consummate musician, recording artist, performer, and storyteller. In his forty-plus-year career, he has recorded ten albums and performed countless concerts, festivals, and storytelling gigs. His primary instruments are guitars, native flutes, voice, and percussion. His passion for Native American flute music started as a child and has grown to include composing, performing, and recording ancient instruments in the traditional fashion as well as with diverse genres from classical to Celtic, folk, rock, and jazz. Recently, he co-composed and performs a five-movement concerto with the Carpe Diem String Quartet, entitled Anthem for the Ancestors. He was awarded a Wurlitzer Fellowship for music in Taos, New Mexico, in 2014. Littlebird’s performances delight audiences on prestigious stages all over the country.
Will Clipman began playing his father’s drums and his mother’s piano at the age of three. He played his first professional gig at fourteen and has since then mastered a pan-global palette of percussion instruments in addition to the traditional drum set. He has received seven Grammy nominations, including one for his solo world-music album, Pathfinder. Among other honors he has received are the Native American Music Award (three times), the Canadian Aboriginal Music Award, the New Age Reporter Music Award, the Zone Music Reporter Award, and the Tammie Award (twice). He has also been inducted into the Tucson Musicians Museum for his contributions to the musical community in his hometown. Clipman has recorded over sixty albums, including more than thirty for Canyon Records, where he is regarded as the house percussionist. He has performed and recorded with Canyon labelmate R. Carlos Nakai for twenty-five years as well as with many other internationally acclaimed artists and ensembles, and has toured throughout the United States, Canada, Germany, Morocco, and Russia. His solo Planet of Percussion performance and workshop take audiences of all ages on a world tour of rhythm and polyrhythm.