Culchahworks Arts Collective is a Toronto-based not-for-profit arts organization, established in 2013. The name and unique spelling are drawn from the pronunciation of the word 'culture' in Jamaican patois.
Culchahworks' mandate is to celebrate stories drawn from the African-Canadian, Caribbean-Canadian and African-American cultural legacies, having universal resonance, through the arts. Whether it be through live concert presentations, musical theatre, dance, film and television, documentary, or a combination of any of the above, Culchahworks strives to raise the bar for multimedia arts presentation and community engagement in Canada, while ensuring that important figures and events from our heritage are honoured and preserved. Entertainment, education, respect and inspiration form equal parts of every Culchahworks initiative.
Andrew Craig, Culchahworks Founder and Artistic Director
“You are a magnificent musician – thank God for you in the future!”
- music icon Quincy Jones
“Andrew Craig is a supreme musician for our modern age, fusing rhythm and blues, gospel, jazz and new age genres with proportion, taste and skill” - Carol Lipson, The Live Music Report
Andrew Craig is a Guelph-based multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, producer, director, composer, broadcaster and impresario, working in multiple musical genres, and collaborating with artists in other disciplines. He has worked with a diverse range of musical artists, including Molly Johnson, Measha Bruggergosman, Jackie Richardson, Ashley MacIsaac and Wynton Marsalis. He has Musical Directed for Canstage, Soulpepper Theatre, and the Grand Theatre, and composed music for OMNI Television, as well as for numerous choreographers.
Andrew has a considerable reputation as a Musical Director. He Musical Directed Harbourfront’s tribute to Quincy Jones, and has twice performed for Nelson Mandela, one of those times at Toronto’s Skydome (now the Rogers Centre), for which he arranged music sung by 50,000 schoolchildren. In January 2008, Andrew created and directed the finale to the public tribute to the late jazz piano icon Oscar Peterson, at the request of the Peterson family. It included soprano Measha Bruggergosman, the University of Toronto Gospel Choir, The Nathaniel Dett Chorale and Faith Chorale, accompanied by Andrew with the Oscar Peterson Quartet.
Andrew was nominated in the category of “Pianist/Keyboardist of the Year” in both the 2006 and 2007 Canadian Smooth Jazz Awards.
Andrew created, Musical Directed and co-produced “A Gospel Christmas Celebration” for CBC Radio and Television in December 2006. The show received a Gemini nomination, and won a Bronze World Medal at the prestigious New York Festivals. Andrew also produced the CD version of the special, called “The Gospel Christmas Project”, for CBC Records, released in October 2007.
In December 2007, Andrew made his orchestral conducting debut, performing “The Gospel Christmas Project - LIVE!” with the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa. The show had a return engagement with NACO in 2011. The Gospel Christmas Project, minus orchestra, had its premiere performance at Massey Hall in December 2007, to critical acclaim. The Project took up residence at Toronto’s Young Centre for the Performing Arts from 2008 through 2011, and at Guelph, Ontario’s River Run Centre from 2012 through 2015, culminating in a resplendent 10th Anniversary and Farewell concert.
In April 2009, Andrew musical directed a production of “Dreamgirls” for the Grand Theatre in London, ON, which received rave reviews.
Andrew spent nearly nine years working as a host and producer with CBC. For 3 ½ years, Andrew hosted CBC Radio Two’s “In Performance”, the network’s flagship Classical concerts program. For the following five years, he hosted the successor to “In Performance”, called “Canada Live”, which airs nightly on CBC Radio Two, and weekly on CBC Radio One. As a radio journalist and producer, he created several special programs over the years, most recently a two-hour CBC Radio One special for Good Friday, entitled “Sacrifice: The Nature Of Selflessness”, which was received favourably across the country.
In the area of television, Andrew hosted both the 2006 and 2007 Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame galas, which aired on CBC Television and Radio, and which honoured Canadian greats Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, Jean-Pierre Ferland and Gilles Vigneault, among others. Andrew also hosted the reality show “Triple Sensation”, co-presented by Garth Drabinsky and the CBC.
As an impresario, Andrew has twice presented a full-scale tribute to Earth, Wind and Fire. He also created and produced a highly successful Valentine’s show in 2004, 2008, 2010 and 2011 called “Celebrate Love”, at various venues across Toronto.
Andrew also created and produced “The Sistahs Concert”, which featured eight of Canada’s top Black female singers. The show had its debut at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts in August 2009. TD Bank commissioned a remount of the show at Toronto’s prestigious Koerner Hall in March 2010, as part of its inaugural Black History Month initiative. The concert was recorded and broadcast on CBC Radio, Vision TV and Hifi HDTV. “The Brothas Concert”, a follow-up event that featured twelve of Toronto’s top Black keyboardists, took place in February and June 2013. “The Brothas Concert” was also one of the featured concerts during “Panamania” – the cultural festival associated with the Toronto 2015 Pan/Para Am Games.
Award-winning theatre company Artistic Fraud of Newfoundland commissioned Andrew to compose an original all-vocal score for its production of “Oil And Water”, combining Newfoundland folk music with African-American Gospel. “Oil And Water” debuted to rave reviews in cities across Canada, from 2010 through 2012.
Other commissions include a piece for ten pianos and orchestra, debuted at the Cultural Launch of the Toronto 2015 Pan/Para-Am Games, and a pan-stylistic piece for the 2012 Mayor’s Ball For The Arts, commissioned by the Toronto Arts Foundation. Andrew served as Composer and Music Director for the Three-Year Countdown event, the Day One Torch Relay Ceremony, and the daily Victory Celebrations for the Toronto 2015 Pan Am/Para Am Games.
Andrew Craig is the former Co-Chair of the Music Committee of the Toronto Arts Council, a former member the Advisory Council for the Faculty of Fine Arts at York University, and a former Resident Artist at Toronto’s Young Centre for the Performing Arts, as well as a former member of the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors atToronto’s Harbourfront Centre.
Andrew is the Founder and Co-Artistic Director of Culchahworks Arts Collective, a vibrant Toronto-based arts organization that promises to deliver works with deep cultural resonance in the future. Culchahworks produced the Toronto commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the March of Washington, and Dr. Martin Luther King’s historic “I Have A Dream” speech, which received national media coverage. Through Culchahworks, Andrew has founded and serves as the Music Director of the Warriors’ Chorus. This pilot project, undertaken in partnership with the Toronto District School Board, brings together youth facing unique challenges into a choir.
Culchahworks also premiered Andrew’s oratorio, “We Still Dare To Dream”, inspired by Dr. King’s speech, in January 2014, at Toronto’s Queen Elisabeth Theatre, to rave reviews. The Oratorio was remounted in 2016, as part of the “King’s Playlist” concert. Culchahworks presented the workshop and full presentations of Nicole Brooks’ “Obeah Opera”, a fictional retelling of the Salem witch trials through the eyes of African slave women. Culchahworks presented Andrew’s “Global Marley”, a multimedia concert tribute to reggae icon Bob Marley, on what would have been the artist’s 70th birthday. In 2017, Culchahworks produced Andrew’s multi-disciplinary tribute to African-American artist and activist Harry Belafonte, celebrating the icon’s 90th birthday, produced an event celebrating the history and legacy of the African djembe drum, and produced the 2nd edition of the Can.You.Read.Festival, a one-day festival of literacy and food security. In 2018, Culchahworks premiered “Portraits, Patterns, Possibilities: A Black Canadian Trilogy” – three original plays Andrew wrote, directed and produced. Each play tells the story of a significant African-Canadian for whom 2018 is an anniversary year.
Andrew was commissioned to write and premiere “Crossings” – a 60-minute live performance/sound artwork that depicts the passage of African peoples from their homeland to North America, through the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. Andrew was also an Artistic Associate in the production of “The Ward”, a theatre/music re-imagining of Toronto’s first immigrant neighbourhood, as part of the 2018 Luminato Festival.
In August 2018, Andrew took up a new role at SJK School in Breslau, ON, where he teaches the IB Diploma Music Course, and directs the Upper School Choir.
In 2019, Andrew spearheaded two new projects under the Culchahworks banner: "Fish and Rum", a semi-fictional retelling of the real-life connections between the islands of Newfoundland and Jamaica during Prohibition, and "Titans of Toronto Reggae", a coming-together of the pioneering voices of Toronto's Reggae community. March 2, 2019 was designated "Titans Of Toronto Reggae Day" by Toronto mayor John Tory. Both projects continue to be developed into online content.
During the pandemic, Andrew still developed new initiatives, while participating in online festivals and events. "The View From Here" series featured interviews with several prominent figures across Black Canadian communities, who serve as positive change agents.
2022 marks the online premiere of "Chloe-Catalyst", one of the plays originally premiered as part of 2018's "Portraits, Patterns, Possibilities".
Andrew continues to develop new works based on stories from the African-Canadian and Caribbean-Canadian cultural legacies.