Chris Tunkel was born in Virginia, in a small city named Lynchburg and raised on Diamond Hill. His mother had a music and dance studio down the street and also taught piano in the basement, his father who ran a construction company and restored old homes had been playing Jazz music in Lynchburg since he was 15. Big Mama, Chris's grandmother, lived up the block, at the top of Diamond Hill. Between those 3 places, you could find a wide variety of instruments, there were Tubas and Frenchhorns in Big Mama's attic, Congas and Bongos at the Dance Studio and numerous instruments at the Tunkel's. The Tunkels like to sing too. Chris gravitated to the bongos first according to his dad, maybe because it seemed the simplest, you hit the drum with your hand and they're small, but it wasn't until much later that he would be playing hand drums 'seriously'. Througout his time in school, Chris was the first person summoned to beatbox or kick a beat on the cafeteria table when a rhyming battle was going to occur. In 1987 at age 11 Chris won a 3rd place prize in a Hip-Hop competition made up of dozens of rap groups from all over Virginia, exciting the crowd with his McIng and Beatboxing skills. Though not officially in his school's drumline, Chris always 'sat in' on whatever drum or bell he could get his hands on when it went from a march to the popular regional music of the day...'Go-Go'. When Chris was 15 he started collecting percussion instruments of his own, first Bongos, then Congas, Tibales, Djembes etc etc. By the end of his teens he had performed as a percussionist and vocalist in plays, at parties and most notably at clubs and venues with Big Mama Boogie Band, a band that included Chris's dad, his brother and his cousin and of course was named after his grandmother. Around this time Chris also started his career as a dance accompanist, a job that his mother did when Chris was in the womb. He played for colleges and dance schools throughout Virginia during the day and in bars and music joints at night, until 1999 when he moved to New York City. Since, Chris has continued working as a dance accompanist for many dance studios and schools throughout the New York area, studying traditional music with other drummers. He as well has played with numerous bands and artist and helped start the band 'Astro-Cusion' in 2001. The last few years Chris has started to write and perform his own music and has just released his debut album 'Grey Matters'.
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