Cat Tunks is of NZ Maori (Te Whanau a Apanui/Whakatohea) & Irish descent and is songwriter, bandleader & vocalist with BlackSandDiva.
Working extensively across Ireland, Germany, & the Sth Pacific, Cat’s influences have informed her unique style of music that melds her Maori & Irish musical heritage.
Based in Auckland City, BlackSandDiva combines intoxicating guitar, fat beats and whiskey smooth vocals, with sophisticated jazz piano stylings. This band is not afraid of genre blending, mixing gutsy blues and smooth reggae funk grooves with sophisticated beats.
With band members Kiri Maree Kainamu Wheeler (Nga Puhi, keys), Jason Orme (drums) and Aaron Coddel (bass) & Damian Hauwai (Tuhoe/Ngati Kahungungu, guitar) the release of their album Rāwāhi has seen the band go from strength to strength, their music heard on the airwaves of Tel Aviv, Rarotonga, and Ireland, Aotearoa (NZ) and Germany.
Rāwāhi is their second release after their debut, Chameleon (2009), and is a collection of songs inspired by life on the wild NZ coast. This fusion of jazz, funk, soul and Taonga Puoro (Riki Bennett) plus Cat’s roots-centric lyrics, reflects the strong connection she has with the land and sea. Made with funding support from Te Waka Toi/Creative New Zealand, this contemporary jazz/soul album is undoubtedly a modern take on a traditional collaboration.
Cat Tunks & BlackSandDiva bring “hybrid soul, skank beats, and smooth jazz that falls into a backdrop of Tunks's seductive vocal style”
(NZ Musician Magazine )
” a wild kind of New Zealand Soul, whiskey smooth vocals with a jazz n funk backbone, plenty of attitude, and a style unique with its own kind of South Pacific Sophistication......”