The Cover Story

White Chapel Jak to play at the Dome Room.

White Chapel Jak to play at the Dome Room.

GOOD THINGS ON THE HORIZON: Former Gisborne woman Bonnie Hurunui (left) backed her life-long passion for music with skills she learned in business training to put together a unique covers band made up of Michael White (double bass), Nathan Boston (acoustic guitar) and Dean Tinning (percussion) that has supported international acts like Alanis Morissette and Ben Harper. They are now about to perform in Gisborne.

From a four-hour busking slot (with only 40 minutes of material) at a Farmers Market, to opening for international acts, covers band White Chapel Jak has come a long way.

The acoustic four piece has opened for such artists as Alanis Morissette, the Alan Parsons Project, and Ben Harper and is now booked for gigs months in advance.

“They can take a quiet or slow audience and lift it up with a couple of songs and turn the place into a party,” Corporate Sector executive general manager Martin Hunter once enthused.

With double-bass cello, guitar and cajon, rockin’ rhythms in spades, White Chapel Jak is all about the acoustic-pop sound with funky beats.

Trained in classical and Spanish guitar, but with a love of rock, Nathan Boston plays his nylon-stringed instrument with mesmerising finesse. Percussionist Dean Tinning has a funk music background and gets all kinds of rhythms out of his suitcase bass, cajon and hand-held devices. Jazz-trained double bass player Michael White keeps the smooth grooves grooving, while Bonnie Hurunui on vocals and steel adds the sass.

YouTube recordings of White Chapel Jak’s renditions of hip baby-boomer licks like Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean, The Temptations’ Papa Was a Rolling Stone, and Another Brick in the Wall by Pink Floyd showcase an act that combines carefully selected hits with fine musicianship, d-floor friendly beats and joy.

To create the band Hurunui essentially headhunted band members.

“I saw Nathan first and thought ‘he is going to be in my band.’ He eventually came over and now he and I own White Chapel Jak.”

White responded to an ad for a bass player with the pitch “I’m a skinny white bloke with a big black guy inside of me.” He was in.

As a trio, the band once opened for Tinning’s funk band, “then we went after him”.

The musicians had come from other bands so each brought unique flavours to the covers band and blended them.

“Four different people came together and put our flavours into the songs we played,” says Hurunui.

“The more we played, the more we saw we had something. We’d never done stuff like this before. It’s layer upon layer. We all blend in together. Because we love what we’re doing we bring energy to it. White Chapel Jak is not a job. I call it living and people pay us to do it.”

The band does not travel with a stadium-filling drum kit or sound system, which means musicians and gear can all ride in the same truck.

Hurunui foresaw they would spend a lot of time together so she took care in who she shoulder-tapped for the band.

“I wanted good men, men who are not big drinkers. I love these men and I love travelling with them.”

Joining the band for the Gisborne show is keyboard player Mark Steven who has previously worked with Aardija, award winning songwriter and musician Rikki Morris and singer/songwriter Bella Kalolo.

“He has the same energy and plays in some of our shows. We might become a five-piece if I can convince him,” says Hurunui.

White Chapel Jak is in such high demand it has gone full time, so he might not need too much persuasion.

  • White Chapel Jak, the Dome Room, Saturday, 8pm.

From a four-hour busking slot (with only 40 minutes of material) at a Farmers Market, to opening for international acts, covers band White Chapel Jak has come a long way.

The acoustic four piece has opened for such artists as Alanis Morissette, the Alan Parsons Project, and Ben Harper and is now booked for gigs months in advance.

“They can take a quiet or slow audience and lift it up with a couple of songs and turn the place into a party,” Corporate Sector executive general manager Martin Hunter once enthused.

With double-bass cello, guitar and cajon, rockin’ rhythms in spades, White Chapel Jak is all about the acoustic-pop sound with funky beats.

Trained in classical and Spanish guitar, but with a love of rock, Nathan Boston plays his nylon-stringed instrument with mesmerising finesse. Percussionist Dean Tinning has a funk music background and gets all kinds of rhythms out of his suitcase bass, cajon and hand-held devices. Jazz-trained double bass player Michael White keeps the smooth grooves grooving, while Bonnie Hurunui on vocals and steel adds the sass.

YouTube recordings of White Chapel Jak’s renditions of hip baby-boomer licks like Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean, The Temptations’ Papa Was a Rolling Stone, and Another Brick in the Wall by Pink Floyd showcase an act that combines carefully selected hits with fine musicianship, d-floor friendly beats and joy.

To create the band Hurunui essentially headhunted band members.

“I saw Nathan first and thought ‘he is going to be in my band.’ He eventually came over and now he and I own White Chapel Jak.”

White responded to an ad for a bass player with the pitch “I’m a skinny white bloke with a big black guy inside of me.” He was in.

As a trio, the band once opened for Tinning’s funk band, “then we went after him”.

The musicians had come from other bands so each brought unique flavours to the covers band and blended them.

“Four different people came together and put our flavours into the songs we played,” says Hurunui.

“The more we played, the more we saw we had something. We’d never done stuff like this before. It’s layer upon layer. We all blend in together. Because we love what we’re doing we bring energy to it. White Chapel Jak is not a job. I call it living and people pay us to do it.”

The band does not travel with a stadium-filling drum kit or sound system, which means musicians and gear can all ride in the same truck.

Hurunui foresaw they would spend a lot of time together so she took care in who she shoulder-tapped for the band.

“I wanted good men, men who are not big drinkers. I love these men and I love travelling with them.”

Joining the band for the Gisborne show is keyboard player Mark Steven who has previously worked with Aardija, award winning songwriter and musician Rikki Morris and singer/songwriter Bella Kalolo.

“He has the same energy and plays in some of our shows. We might become a five-piece if I can convince him,” says Hurunui.

White Chapel Jak is in such high demand it has gone full time, so he might not need too much persuasion.

  • White Chapel Jak, the Dome Room, Saturday, 8pm.

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