November Feature Artist…Cultureal

Philly Unified loves music! We also love introducing our readers to bands in and around the Philly area.  Our passion is to expose people to the wonderful world of local music.

Today, we’re talking to Joshua Winer of local root reggae, dub and rocker band, Cultureal. An impressive ensemble of musicians that have a common goal to bring people closer together and ultimately, find healing through the music.

imageWho are the members of Cultureal? And where did the name, Cultureal, come from?
Joshua Winer: lead vocal/bass
Larry Toft: trombone
Wesley Rast: drums/vocal
Adam Hershberger: trumpet
Adam Flicker: organ/piano/synth/vocal
Elliott Levin: tenor saxophone/flute
Ray Pirre: lead guitar
Sonni Shine: vocal
Sargie: rhythm guitar
Brian Marsella: piano/clavinet/synth/melodica
Alexandra Day: vocal
Christina Klaproth: vocal
Alcides Rodriguez: percussion

This is a list of the permanent members of the band. In reality, there is an extended network of over 50 musicians who also play with us when other people can’t make it.

The name Cultureal was, at first, a play on the band named Culture. This was when the band was intended to just play covers. The name has come to mean many things to many people, but mainly seems to point out some type of authenticity in the way we approach our music and our lives. Real culture comes from the heart of each individual.

When did you get together as a group?
In 2006, the band formed and played its first show, a party in my back yard in Northern Liberties. Only 4 people from the Original band still play with Cultureal. Over time, many of the city’s reggae, jazz, and world music stars have joined our ranks to make one powerful group of individuals.

What type of music do you play?
We play roots reggae, dub and rockers music. As is customary with roots reggae, we embrace many styles of music within the rhythmic format of reggae.

Do you play covers or original music? 
Cultureal started as a cover band. Over the years, we started to develop more and more original music. Now at our full band shows we play mainly original music with one or two covers mixed in.

What influences the music you play?
The mission to bring people together to heal the planet has been our driving force from the beginning. Many beautiful musicians, poets, painters, sculptors, and artists of all types lived with the same mission. They have all inspired us to continue on the difficult yet rewarding path of being a musician in our modern era.

What inspires the songs your write?
Most of my songs contain a healing message, or a reminder of goals on the healing path. These messages are usually things I need to hear in my own life at that particular time. I figure if the song works for me then it will work for other people. You have to help yourself so you can help others.

What role does music play in your life? Was it always something you’ve all had a passion for?
Music has made me feel like everything is going to be alright in the darkest moments of my life. Performing music has been an overwhelming, intense, and brain expanding experience for me, especially in these last few years. It’s good for the brain.

Music really grabbed me as important when my mother used to sing to me as an infant. It was an amazing flow of beautiful colors and such a calming experience. Singing was always my favorite thing. I don’t remember before learning to sing so you could say I have ALWAYS had a passion for it!

Are you pursuing music as a full-time career?

If you could play any venue in the world, where would you play?
Machu Picchu

Where can people hear your songs? Are you playing anywhere live anytime soon?

We don’t have any shows scheduled at the moment. We just finished our summer season where we played around 60 shows.


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