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Talking Sticks documentary (2016, 1hr 3mins) is an inspiring educational documentary telling the untold story of vibes and marimba. History, interviews (Gary Burton, Mike Mainieri, others), performances, shoots in Ghana, Mexico (Nandayapa marimba factory), Norway (stone marimba), Brazil, Iceland (ice xylophone), Musser/Balter factories… Journeyperson Arthur Lipner's personal and creative travels resonate universally, and will warm the hearts of all who view this film.

BlueRay dvd $30


“A marvelous musical journey.. fascinating glimpses.. a tantalizing trip.”
“An exciting exploration, a transfixing story.”
Symphony Space (NYC)

“A film the likes of which you’ve never quite seen before, a string theory of heart and mind.”
Mark Tucker, Veritas Vampirus

“Beautiful music, scenery, stories and insights.”
WilmFilm Int'l Film Festival
"A strong documentary…an engaging, informative and personal journey. Bravo!"
New Haven Int'l Film Festival

“...Enthusiastically received by folks interested in world music and the creative impulse.”
Hartland (VT) Jazz Festival

“A fascinating global percussion journey.”
Audiophile Audition

“Wonderful and inspiring."
Dr. Paul Buyer, Clemson Univ

“Great film! Looks and sounds fantastic.”
Dr. Jeff Moore, Univ Central Florida

“..the possibility of teamwork in life through music. Bravo to everyone!”
Marvin Sparks, Lone Star College-Kingwood


Arthur Lipner has been present at the following Talking Sticks Screening/Concert/Q&A Events

Biloxi Visitors Center, Biloxi, MS 
Bethel Cinema, Bethel, CT 
Chicago Day of Percussion, Eisenhower University, Chicago, IL
Connecticut Film Festival, New Haven, CT 
Filmfort Center for Cultural Diversity, Boise, ID
Hartland Jazz Festival, Hartland, VT 
Iowa State University, Ames, IA 
Jacksonville State University, Jacksonville, AL 
Las Vegas Academy of Music, Las Vegas, NV 
Lighthouse Film Series, Long Beach Island, NJ 
Percussive Arts Society Int'l Conference, Indianapolis, IN 
Sly Boots Music & Dance Festival, Buffalo NY 
Southern Utah University, Cedar City, UT 
Symphony Space, New York City, NY 
University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS 
Voices Cafe/Film Series, Westport, CT 
WilmFilm Film Festival, Wilmington, DE (not present)
World Village Music Festival, Boise, ID (not present)


Australia Premiere - Groove Warehouse, Canberra, Australia 
Belgium Premiere - Roeselare Center, Roesalare, Belgium  
England Premiere - Royal North Conservatory, Manchester, England
Scotland Premiere - Edinburgh Conservatoire, Edinburgh, Scotland 
Iceland Premiere - Tonlistarskoli Reykjavik Music Cons., Reyjkavik, Iceland 
Turkey  Premiere - Yasar Univ, Izmir, Turkey
and MIAM Music Conservatory, Istanbul, Turkey


TALKING STICKS is an inspirational and educational documentary about a musician’s inner and outer journeys with his percussion  instruments  vibraphone (vibes) and marimba.  Arthur Lipner has become one of the top players in the world.  But, he feels disconnected since his instruments are not part of the USA music scene. The conquering of this disconnect, through travels and interviews, is Talking Sticks.


Along the way, Talking Sticks presents the origins of vibes and marimba. In Ghana, we sit on the ground with a marimba maker in a small village.  Ghanaian xylophonist Bernard Woma says, “In our culture, music is part of life.”  In Chiapas, Mexico, we visit the Nandayapa factory which has been making marimbas for over 100 years. We’re on the streets of Rio de Janeiro during Carnival, and with the National Symphony of Brazil.  In Norway, we experience the construction of, and improvisation on, an ice xylophone during an ice music festival. This experience embodies much of what Lipner’s journeys represent.  Ice musician Terje Isungset, interviewed in an igloo, says, “This water has been through thousands of human beings..may have part of people’s soul in it..and it’s also music.”


Talking Sticks offers rare access to percussion factories, living percussion legends Gary Burton, Mike Mainieri and Vida Chenoweth. It also gives historical perspectives of vibes legends Milt Jackson and Lionel Hampton. 


Talking Sticks contains extraordinary visual footage, virtuosic musical performances, and fascinating information.  One musician’s personal journey in a search that has elements universal to all walks of life…

Want to read more? Here's the full text of the above reviews.

“This is a marvelous musical journey. Fascinating glimpses into the variety of traditional instruments, how they’re played and how they’re made. Engaging concert performances, interviews with acclaimed musicians…a tantalizing trip.”

“It is always a rarity to find a compelling documentary long subject about an element of culture. Straddling many spots on the globe, personal narrative, and musical expertise, Talking Sticks  is an exciting exploration of something simple – the marimba – and how many stories can emanate from the phenomenon of human beings creating and communicating through artistic expression.  Ultimately, it is a transfixing story of the histories inherent in a single instrument. I certainly recommend it to any audience eager to be engaged by the arts.”
Ben Feldman, Symphony Space (NYC) Advisory Board

“A film the likes of which you’ve never quite seen before. Moves quickly and covers much ground, never pretentious, always populist, moving between the soul of music, the soul of the people, and the soul of wood and metal, a string theory of heart and mind. Mr. Lipner has become - partly by default, the lion’s age of times past having faded on us all, but mostly through superior skills, imagination, and a true artist’s dedication - the ambassador of the xylophone family. I cannot say whether his work will carry the sprawling instruments to their deserved next plateau, but if anyone can, he’ll be the guy.”
Mark Tucker, Veritas Vampirus

"Beautiful music, scenery, stories and insights. A film for the music aficionado, traveler and memoir lover." 
WilmFilm 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

"...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

“A fascinating global percussion journey. Lipner is searching for deeper personal connections with various cultures and creativity thru his music, and is obviously nuts for mallet instruments – and I wasn’t aware there were so many of them. This is a wonderful documentary.. It should appeal to more than just the aficionados of music, should inculcate a greater appreciation of all mallet instruments in all genres of music.” Audiophile Audition

"Congratulations! Talking Sticks is wonderful and inspiring." Dr. Paul Buyer, Clemson Univ

"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. The filmmakers must be very proud." Dr. Jeff Moore, Univ Central Florida

"Our library has acquired Talking Sticks 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! "
Marvin Sparks, Lone Star College-Kingwood

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