Ákos Kovács (+ Bonanza Banzai)

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6 April 1968

Born in Budapest, Ákos grew up in a family of lawyers. A member of the Pier Paolo Pasolini film club, he aspired to be a film director, but his mother strictly forbade this. As a compromise, he attended the Corvinus University of Budapest and graduated in 1992 with a degree in foreign trade. In effect he masters three foreign languages, English, Italian and Swedish. In 1988 he formed, together with Hauber Zsolt and Menczel Gábor, the synthband Bonanza Banzai. They picked up the name from the ‘Csillag Születik’ (a star is born) talent hunt. Their first single ‘Induljon a banzáj!’ (the start of Banzai) gained them the name ‘the Hungarian Depeche Mode’ which they exploited happily. The success of the band was quick. After their third album ‘1984’ (losely based on the book by James Orwell) they’d fill the Budapest Sports Arena, documented on the 1992 live album.  But by then Ákos was already planning on a solocareer with his first solo album ‘Karcolatok’ appearing parallel to BB’s sixth studio album. By 1994 this was no longer a workable situation. With a big concert in Budapest Bonanza Banzai seized to exist. Hauber Zsolt would stay in the music business as a record producer and talent scout while Gábor would start working for an IT company.

Meanwhile Ákos also hinted towards an international career with English albums being released a year later. This did not have the effect he expected and he returned to Hungarian with the 1995 ‘Indiántánc’ album followed by ‘Élő dalok’ in 1996 (released in English as ‘Firedance’). The album received several Arany Zsiráf-awards and became a big success in Hungary. A year later selected work from Ákos is remixed for the compilation ‘ÚjRaMIX’. Exemplary for the frantic work pace Ákos keeps is that parallel to his music he also created videoclips, poetry and released his first theatre musical piece, an adaptation of Brecht’s ‘Baal’ 1995 followed by ‘Oliver’ in 1999. The same year Hungarian television celebrated his tenth annivesary in music with a big TV show accompanied by a compilation, VHS of his Ikon-tour and more. Ákos himself started working in Munich on a Hungarian adaptation of the Disney-movie ‘Tarzan’ with music by Phil Collins. His 1999 album ‘Ismerj fel’ is again translated in English (‘Call my name’) with which EMI actively tries to plug Ákos abroad in 2000 with shows at music conventions in Barcelona, Groningen (Eurosonic) and London (with a show in Camden Center). In 2000 his fifth poem-book appears called ‘A hűség könyve’ or the Book of Loyalty. In 2002 the Terror Museum opens in Budapest dedicated to the years under fascist and communist rule. The music the exhibition is written by Ákos for which he receives the medal of honour. A sixth English language album is released called ‘Vertigo’ featuring eight new songs and a multimedia section.

In 2004 he performs at a special gala ‘The Day of Hungarian Culture’ celebrating the 180th birthday of the National Anthem. The same year he receives the Széchenyi Society Award for his work in preserving the Hungarian language and culture. His Christmas live show at the Budapest Arena is aired on TV and viewed by 75.000 people. But by 2006 the internet catches up with Ákos when his new album ‘Még közelebb’ is placed on the internet by the Belgian mastering company. In result many people download the album prior to its release. Ákos tries to limit the damage by adding extra material on the singles released with the album. Still the album reaches platinum status easily. A year later a DVD retrospective is released with over 12 hours of footage. Ákos returns to Belgium that year for a solo-concert for the Hungarian community in Brussels. Dedicating himself to writing for theatre plays and poetry he skips a year to come up with new album in 2008. Having passed the age of 40 his 2009 compilation project is approriately called ‘40+’. Always being on the frontline of new innovations the live-show of the album is released on Blu Ray in 2010. Later that year 'A katona imája' is released. In 2012 he returns to the future with '2084' which in sound and production pays tribute to the BB-album '1984'. After a lot of touring and celebrating his anniversary on stage Akos finally releases a new album in 2019 which is a return to a more poppy sound that reminds of Bonanza Banzai.

Ákos is married to Krisztina Őry, and they have four children: Martin (1998), Anna (2002), Kate (2005) and Juliet (2010).

On the web:

- Akos' website: http://www.akos.hu

If you like this, you probably like... / european counterparts:

- Miguel Bosé (Spain)

- Franco Battiato (Italy)

What do we think:

DB: Ákos is one of those artists who releases music, poetry, video’s, plays, soundtracks and what more at an almost frantic pace. This man must be on a continuous production mode and I wonder of he even sleeps. Surprisingly the output is also of impressive quality. OK, his Bonanza Banzai period is maybe a bit to rooted in the synth-era to withstand the test of time but we’ll accept that as a guilty pleasure. Since then he made an impressive catalogue for himself. Very credible Europop-artist.


- Karcolatok – 1993

- Indiántánc - 1995

- Élő dalok - 1996

- Beavatás - 1997

- Ikon - 1998

- Ismerj fel - 1999

- Hűség - 2000

- A hét parancsszó - 2001

♪♪- Új törvény - 2002

♪♪- Andante - 2003

- Az utolsó hangos dal (live) - 2004

♪♪♪♪♪ - Még közelebb - 2006

- Kaland a régi királlyal - 2008

♪♪♪♪ - A katona imája - 2010

♪♪♪ - 2084 - 2012

♪♪♪♪- idősziget - 2019

With Bonanza Banzai:

- Induljon a banzáj! - 1989

♪♪♪ - A jel - 1990

♪♪♪ - 1984 - 1991

- A pillanat emlékműve - 1991

- Bonanza Live Banzai - 1992

♪♪♪ - Elmondatott - 1992

- Régi és új - 1993

- Jóslat - 1994

- Búcsúkoncert - 1995

♪♪♪♪♪ = outstanding album, an absolute must-have
♪♪♪♪ = great album, highly recomended
♪♪♪ = nice album
♪♪ = be careful, requires listening before buying
♪ = best to be avoided


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  EUROPOPMUSIC - Central Europe