Transcendental Tour Guide
Providing doorways of self-transformation and social renewal through the process of creativity coaching, musical performance and visual art.
“The highest form of creation is the witnessing of life.”
For the past 18 years Joe has been focusing his percussive heart upon the tabla (drums) of India. This magical transcendental journey has been blessed with guidance and education with many stalwarts of tabla. This includes but not limited to: internationally acclaimed tabla genius Ustad Zakir Hussain, senior students of Zakirji Ty Burhoe and Prafulla Athalye, Senior Lucknow Gharana (school) Arup Chattopadhyay, Senior Benares Gharana (school) Pradip Ghosh, rhythm wizard Taalyogi Pandit Suresh Talwalkar, and sitar/tabla virtuoso Pandit Nayan Ghosh .
For ten years he’s been dedicatedly teaching young and adult students tabla at the India Sunday School in Akron Ohio http://www.indiasundayschool.com/.
A NPR radio article featured Joe’s unique role being a Western tabla teacher of Indian students.
He has performed with many sacred yogic kirtan chanting groups such as: Breathing Room, Craig Narada Wise, Naad Anand, Jeff Kiko Kozy, Madhu Anand, Samuel Salsbury at yoga centers. Performed for many traditional and nontraditional Indian weddings. One of the biggest highlights was at Cleveland’s magnificent Severance Hal for Monte Ahuja’s daughter’s wedding. Performed with fusion groups featuring Hal Walker, Bill Lestok, David Marchione, Warren Henry, Michael Stephens, Sam Kibler, Wilbur Krebs, Mike Hovanscek, Michael Stephens, John Kuegler, Bryan Thomas and many others. Supported dancers of all styles including belly dancers Melissa Lopeza and Elianae Stone.
For the past two years he’s been awarded an Ohio Art’s Council grant to apprentice with Columbus Ohio’s acclaimed sitarist Hans Utter. They have performed many times together playing full traditional ragas and facilitating lectures on North Indian music at Kent State and Cleveland State Universities They received best of performance award for the Columbus Ohio Telgu society festival. He has accompanied vocalists Uptolla Borah Monte and Madhu Anand as well as sitarist John Kossler.
Joe’s percussion journey began at age nine when he saw Ustad Allah Rahka and Ravi Shankar. He didn’t begin any formal training until his freshman year in High School after being tenaciously motivated upon hearing the marching band during a football game. The core of the travels began playing drum set taking him down the path of many musical genre ranging from hardcore punk, classic rock, Latin, Jazz, Funk, Country, Celtic, Folk, Bluegrass and Gospel.
He toured with blues legends Robert Jr. Lockwood, Wallace Coleman and Mark Hawn performing at Kansas City, St. Paul Minnesota, Washington D.C. and King Biscuit Blues Festivals.
His last major drum set usage was with his latin, funk, jazz group Osmosis. For over eight years Osmosis, a 1995 Musician’s Magazine best top ten bands award, played many concerts and festivals, opening for some of the greats, such as Spyra Gyro, Chuck Mangione, Marion Meadows and Blood Sweat and Tears.
After more than thirty years he decided to let drum set be put aside to focus his newfound percussive love of tabla.
He comes from a rich art and educator background which his parents Robert W. Culley and Betty S. Culley were both visual artists and educators. His father created a groundbreaking course at Kent State University during the late 1960’s entitled experimental materials and technics influencing Mark Mothersbaugh and Gerald Casale of the new wave rock band Devo. Childrens book Kent State University. Joe’s grandmother Gladys Schmitt was an author of ten novels, a book of sonnets and two children’s book. She founded the creative writing department at Carnegie-Mellon University. Elizabeth R Culley, Joe’s paternal Grandmother, taught in a one room school house!
Joe went onto Kent State receiving a Bachelor of Art focusing on Art Education. He has been teaching for 27 years in the Nordonia Hills School District.
As a visual artists he currently exhibits his paintings at Harris Stanton Gallery (http://www.harrisstantongallery.com/JoeCulley.html)
He has shown his paintings at Summit Art Space in Akron Ohio and has hand several one man shows at: Standing Rock Cultural Arts in Kent, Scribbles Coffee Shop in Kent and Yoga Central in Canton.
His paintings, drawings, photographs and sculptures focus upon the spiritual aspects of nature and abstract interpretations of his music.
Osmosis: 1995 Music
Osmosis: 1999 Perspectives
Jeff Kiko Kozi: 2000
Breathing Room: 2010 Rings of the Heart
Mike Hovanscek: 2005
Craig Narada Wise: 2015