"The inspiration for the Cultural Bridge Project comes from my earliest travels in the 1990’s following my time as an undergrad at Wesleyan University, where I became immersed in folk music and dance from around the world while studying Cultural Anthropology and Sociology. This is also where I began to harbor dreams of becoming an ethnomusicologist. These early travels were heavily focused on the exploration of music. With no agenda and plenty of time to be open to the musical winds, I found myself connecting with wide variety of musicians and other travelers.

 

Early highlights were playing all night with local Bedouin musicians in the mountains of the Sinai Desert and a master multi-instrumentalist in the surreal landscape of Cappadocia, Turkey. Music parties late into the night in stunningly beautiful places and cultural exchange during the day were hallmarks of these adventures that I carry forward into the journeys that are part of the Cultural Bridge Project.

 

These first explorations into finding deep connections with those from other cultures set me on a life-long journey to pursue music and when possible, work and travel outside of the United States. My travels have since taken me to over twenty countries, including Africa, the Middle East, Asia, East and West Europe, the Caribbean, and Central America, where I have had the opportunity to venture across cultural bridges with many native musicians and fellow travelers. I have been extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to move beyond the typical tourist experience and commercial façade and look forward to sharing that opportunity with others.

 

As I established strong connections with artists in many regions of the world, it occurred to me that I could help to facilitate a similar experience for those with limited time or lack of local relationships and knowledge, but who understand the value of connecting to like-minded folks, wish to delve into the cultural roots of our varied collective human history, desire to learn and grow, want to help preserve local traditions in an ever-shrinking world dominated by mass-marketed culture. 

 

I have also long had a passion for connecting people to music and to each other. I have run a world music concert series, been in a successful folk music band (Stolen Thyme), briefly managed master South African musician and craftsman Mogauwane Mahloele, organized large conferences, social gatherings, and political events, taught in wide variety of contexts from pre-school to University, published and presented on a variety of topics in the US and abroad, and been a successful grant writer, having been a lead or co-lead on grants totaling more than $1.4 million to pursue a variety of projects in education.

 

The Cultural Bridge Project is the culmination of a long-time dream to integrate these rich and diverse experiences, further explore the cultures of other countries, make deep connections with fellow travelers and artists, help preserve and grow local cultural traditions, and have a hell of a good time in the process.

 

Why not take down those travelin’ shoes, grab your instrument or artisan tools, and join us…"

 

 

 

Dr. John Weathers

Director of the Cultural Bridge Project

 

 

 

 

The Cultural Bridge Project's mission is to connect

musicians, artisans, and cultural guides among local communities,

offering a space for relationship-building,

intercultural communication, and inspired creation.

Jam with Sol Latino in Antigua, Guatemala, October 2014