Kostas Tournas (Κώστας Τουρνάς) Bookmark and Share


23 september 1949

Born in Tripoli, Arcadia the family moved to Athens in 1959 where Kostas started playing guitar. At age 13 he joined his first band playing Latin American songs. Largely self educated he took up guitar lessons in 1965 in persuing a more serious musical career. In 1967, the year the Junta took over the regime in Greece, Tournas joined a musical group playing covers by popular international bands. He started to write original Greek material at the end of the sixties in collaboration with his friend Robert Williams. One of their first compositions was  Ήλιε μου’ (My sun). They soon confirmed their musical friendship with the start of the band Poll. Under the credo ‘Poll is love’ the band took the stage of the popular Athens club Kyttapo with hippiestyled folkrock. With result, they soon became a popular band. Their debut album distiquished itself by a rather costly design, the cover was handmade as a burlap bag. Popular songs were ‘Έλα Ήλιε μου’ (Come my sun,), ‘Στην Πηγή μια Κοπέλα’ (The Source of a Girl), ‘Αετοί’ (Eagles) and ‘Η Γενιά μας ‘ (Our generation). A second album featured the anti-war song "Anthrope Agapa (Humankind Love One Another)", allegedly the first protest rocksong in Greece. After this Poll disbanned and Tournas pursued a solo career.

In 1973 he released the album ‘Απέραντα Χωράφια’ (Infinite Fields) based on songs he wrote with Poll but then blown up into a progressive folk-rock opus with no distinction into separate tracks. Kostas Tournas wrote and arranged it for a large orchestra and provided vocals, guitars and keyboards himself. The accompaniing rock group on the album is Ruth. In 1973 he also gets influenced by David Bowie and his Ziggy Stardust project and creates the psychedelic album Astroneira (Stardreams). His 1974 album ‘Κυρίες και κύριοι’ (ladies & gentlemen) is a less pretentious project, the titlesong becomes a Greek evergreen. In 1975 he rejoins with Williams for the rockopera ‘Τρωϊκός πόλεμος’ (Trojan Wars) written by Giannis Petritsis & Giannis Kozatsas. He continues to release albums even though the interest for modern rockmusic wains during the course of the seventies. In the Eighties Tournas more and more continues to record his albums completely on his own playing most of the instruments. The 1981 instrumental album ‘Χωρίς λόγια’ is a start with elements of reggae and new wave, by 1988 he is completely into electronic music with the album ‘Παιχνίδι’ (Game). In 1994 he releases the album ‘Ντουετα’ (Duets) with the participation of 12 classical singers. Tournas’ songs also regurarly get covered by other artists some of which are compiled on the album Τραγούδια για φίλους (1995). In 2000 he presents the concept album Κλέβει ο Καιρός (Steal the time). Alongside his artistic path, Kostas spent 27 years in trade unionism, and has chaired for many years in ETE (Association of Singers Greece), in "Erato" (Related Rights Management Agency) and as a member of the Board the FIA (International Federation of Performers). Living in Athens with his wife, Maria Liaropoulou  he was a candidate of the New Republic in 2005 and MP candidate in the elections of 2007

On the web:

- Kostas' website: http://www.tournas.gr/

What do we think:

DB: Even for the most dedicated progressive rockdiggers Greece is something of uncharted territory. Not completely just because in the time of the Junta some excellent progrock and folkrock was made here. Indeed the dicatorial regime allowed Western rrock (within restrcitions of course) to show how flexibel they were. This allowed for some great music to get recorded. Kostas Tournas was one of the leading figures, first with Poll and later solo. The stuff he made in the seventies is well worth to seek out.

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

- Le Orme (Italy)

- Baris Manço (Turkey)

Recommended abums:

♪♪♪ - Poll - 1972 

♪♪♪♪♪ - Απέραντα χωράφια  - 1973

 ♪♪♪♪ - Αστρόνειρα  - 1973

 - Επί Γής Ειρήνη  - 1974

♪♪♪♪ - Κυρίες και κύριοι  - 1974

 - Λευκά φτερά  - 1975

  - Τρωϊκός πόλεμος - Ροκ όπερα - 1975

  - Στο σινεμά  - 1976

 - Αγαπημένη  - 1978

-  Τώρα   - 1980 

 - Χωρίς λόγια  - 1981

 - Κλισέ   - 1986

 - Παιχνίδι  - 1988

- Aλητειες - 1990

- Κάτω απ΄την Ακρόπολη - 1993

- Ντουετα  - 1994

- Δεν λέει - 1997

- Κλέβει ο Καιρός - 2000

- Υπερβολές - 2006

♪♪♪♪♪ = 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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