Profile Type: Artist
Talking Sticks Film Screening/Q&A/Concert
  • "Beautiful music, scenery, stories and insights. A film for the music aficionado, traveler and memoir lover." Wilmington (DE) Int'l Film Festival
  • "A strong documentary which speaks of one man's passion combined with his experiences traveling the globe to seek out the various cultures from which his love for music originated. From Africa to Norway to Mexico and everywhere in between, he took the audience (a sold-out house) on an engaging, informative and personal journey. Bravo!"  New Haven (CT) Int'l Film Festival

[Please contact for a private link to view the entire documentary. Trailer available at this profile, and at]

  • "...Enthusiastically received by folks interested in world music and the creative impulse. It is not only educational but also funny and moving, and should appeal to any audience of music lovers."  Hartland (VT) Jazz Festival
  • "WOW, what a great film and project! Looks and sounds fantastic. So informative with such a great message, and is also very enjoyable to watch."  Dr. Jeff Moore, Univ Central Florida
  • "Congratulations! Talking Sticks is wonderful and inspiring."  Dr. Paul Buyer, Clemson Univ
  • "I look forward to the many opportunities to share it with students in ALL fields of study to see the possibility of teamwork in life through music. Bravo to everyone involved in this great project. " Sparks, Lone Star College-Kingwood
  • “From the depths of my heart I thank you, Arthur.  You do great things for people.” — Mtro. Rodolfo Reyes Cortes, Coordinator of Artistic Events, Chiapas, Mexico 

Talking Sticks Screening/Performance Event (scroll down for film summary)

All parts of the event encouraged for all ages!!
The following are possible schedule options. Arthur does not require an intermission, or a concert. Your event can be customized to fit your wishes.

* Screening  (63mins)
* Q&A (10-20mins)
* Intermission  (15mins)
* Performance (30-45 mins)
* Total event time:  2-2.5 hrs
* Artist Meet-and-Greet following performance

1. Talking Sticks screening
TRT 63 mins.  Plot summary below.  Talking Sticks is available in several digital formats, including BluRay. Arthur may be able to bring a BluRay player if you have HDMI connectivity.

2. Q&A
Can be formal onstage, or casual sitting amongst the guests.  Will require microphone.

3. Performance
Arthur plays solo vibes, possibly also marimba depending on logistics and travel factors. Can add musicians also.

4. Meet-and-Greet following performance
Arthur (and musicians) will be happy to stay afterwards and meet VIP’s/Patrons/ Guests


TALKING STICKS DOCUMENTARY SUMMARY - please watch trailer also!  Available at this profile, and at

TALKING STICKS is an inspirational and educational documentary about a world-renown percussionist’s inner and outer journeys.  It is laden with wonderful performances. The main character Arthur Lipner finds his identity in playing the unusual instruments vibraphone (vibes) and marimba.  One of the top players in the world, his instruments afford him many opportunities for performance. Yet, he feels a disconnect since they are not part of the mainstream popular music scene.  It is his exploration and conquering of this disconnect which is the main storyline of Talking Sticks.

Along the way, Talking Sticks presents the origins of instruments like no film has ever done before, whether percussion or other.  We travel to Ghana where we sit on the ground with a marimba maker in a small village and learn of his family and their marimba tradition. We also hear from Ghanaian Master Xylophonist Bernard Woma. Woma says, “In our culture, music is part of life. You either choose to be in it, or you are out of it.”  In Chiapas, Mexico, we visit a marimba factory situated on a stunning river, where the Nandayapa family has been making marimbas by hand for over 100 years. Carlos Nandayapa takes us on a tour and discusses his marimba world. In Brazil, we’re on the streets of Rio de Janeiro during  Carnival performances, and on the concert stage with the National Symphony of Brazil during the World Premiere of Lipner’s vibes and marimba concerto.  In Iceland, we experience the deeply spiritual stone marimba of artisan Pall Gudmundsson, made of stones from the glaciers behind his home in the remote countryside.

Lipner’s desire to deepen his experience as a keyboard percussionist, while moving traditions into new territory, take him to an icy mountaintop in Norway. There, we see the construction of, and his improvisation on, an ice xylophone. This experience embodies much of what his journeys represent. In Norway he interviews ice musician Terje Isungset in an igloo. Isungset says, “This water has been through thousands of human beings..may have part of people’s soul in it..and it’s also music.”

In the USA, we are granted rare access to percussion factories. Inside the Musser vibes and marimba factory in Chicago, we see the process of construction including the cutting and tuning of bars. In fact, in Talking Sticks we see bars being cut and tuned in Mexico, Chicago, Ghana and Norway. At the Mike Balter Mallets factory, mallet construction is explained along with the inner workings of these tools of the percussionist’s trade.

Regarding the 20th century history of the instruments, we hear from a jazz faculty member of Columbia University as he summarizes the roots of jazz vibes. Footage of vibes greats Lionel Hampton and Milt Jackson bring us continuity follows.  NY Philharmonic percussionist Gordon Gottlieb also contributes to this segment. In addition, we hear from Ney Rosauro, marimbist and composer of the most popular marimba concerto ever.

Lipner decides to pose the same questions he has about connection via his instruments to others central to the development of vibes and marimba.  Gary Burton and Mike Mainieri, both vibes players and living jazz legends, speak openly about their lives and the role the vibraphone has played in them. We also get to know 82 year-old Vida Chenoweth, the first “concert marimbist.” Compelling, warm, and informative, these interviews give us glimpses into the mindset of the keyboard percussionist’s joys and dilemmas.  Lipner’s former teacher provides wisdom and continuity during several appearances.  Towards the end, he says, “We’re all looking for the wholeness.” Finally, Lipner references John Updike’s poem “The Angels” for inspiration of his life’s purpose.  

Talking Sticks offers extraordinary visual footage, virtuosic musical performances, and educational content mixed with storytelling in a manner never done before.  One artist’s journey in a search that has elements universal to all. 



Additional Links: 
Talking Sticks Trailer (2016)
Lipner discusses Talking Sticks in his studio
Sample Lipner solo marimba performance

I Have Worked With

  • January 2016

    Solo concert and screening of documentary TALKING STICKS in Manhattan.


  • June 2015


  • November 2014

    Indianapolis, IN. Large annual int'l conference/trade show for percussioinists worldwide. Screening/Q&A


  • Artist

Contact Information

First Name: 
Job Title/Position: 
Musician/Living Arts Productions
Mailing Address: 
PO Box 302
Wilton, CT 06897
Physical Address: 
177 Thunder Lake Rd.
Wilton, CT 06897
Last Name: 


Profile Type: 
Primary Discipline: 
Media - Film
Additional Disciplines: 
Media - Film
Year Founded: 
Populations Served: 
General Public
School Groups
Institution/Business Type: 
Artist (Individual)
Activities and Services: 
Performance / Concert / Reading
Residency - Community
Residency - In School
Workshops / Demonstrations / Master Class
Events Per Year: 
Seasons Active: 
Geographic Reach: 

Affiliations and Accomplishments

not yet

I am a Touring Artist

Technical Requirements: 
BluRay projection if avail. If not, player can be provided if HDMI connectivity avail.
Fee Range Minimum: 
Fee Range Maximum: 
State of Residence: 
Minimum Number of Performers: 
Maximum Number of Performers: