Sunday, December 19, 2010

Leslie Mandoki: I Immediately Fell in Love with Munich.

A continuation of the last part, in which Leslie and his friends had just barely escaped with their lives by fleeing through a train tunnel.

I Immediately Fell in Love with Munich

Tutzing/Munich -- Colourful signs, clean air, and cold drinks. As Leslie Mandoki arrives in Munich in the summer of 1975 from Hungary, he thinks he is in paradise. "I was thrilled, and immediately in love with the city."

Fascinated, he stays with his friends Laszlo Bencker and Gabor Csupo outside City Hall for half an hour at a tram stop. "There was a road map, that we did not know," says the musician. "And that was mistaken for us. The tram actually went to this plan." (Trans: Not sure what he's saying here.)

The trio goes to the Hungarian mission in Bogenhausen. "My uncle was the boss there and I was hoping he would take us in for a few days," says Mandoki. "But because of our long hair, he has us kicked out. Until his death, I never forgave him."

The young men sit at a loss in the Marienplatz to get help from strangers. "This has touched me deeply in my heart." Nevertheless, the musicians go on. "We wanted to get to Sweden, then America." But in Denmark they are picked up by police and sent back to Germany.

Mandoki ends up in a refugee camp in Zirndorf. For three weeks, every day for twelve hours he learns German and reads books, and integrates quickly in his new home. "I would have been stupid, not to open this rich new culture."

He rose from first appearances in hotel bars to large concerts in clubs, to being a very sought-after studio musician. Finally, he became a member of "Dschinghis Khan." Mandoki later produced Phil Collins, Lionel Ritchie, and the No Angels, and works closely with friends Peter Maffay and Thomas Gottschalk. He is internationally successful, playing with Star-Geiger David Garrett and trumpeter Till Bronner in China and the United States.

Moreover, the percussionist gathered in his "Soul Mates" rock stars such as Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull), and Toto singer Bobby Kimball around. Mandoki has now released the CD "Thank You!" "I would like to thank Germany and Bavaria, for the warmth and cordiality which was shown to me. The pre-Christmas theme song is my love song to the country where I have to thank 35 years so much."


  1. So he survives the rail tunnel, the dogs, and the guards- and HIS UNCLE throws him out because of his HAIR?? That's actually incomprehensible.......

    But I guess that's why you have a hard time understanding his spoken German, Jenn. He's truly self-taught and not even close to a native speaker. The accent etc must be completely off.......

    Thanks for the article, Jenn. What's next??

  2. „Da gab es einen Fahrplan. Das kannten wir gar nicht“, sagt der Musiker. „Und das Irrste für uns war: Die Tram fuhr tatsächlich nach diesem Plan.“

    This translates to:
    "There was indeed a timetable for the tram. We weren't used to that", says the musician. "And the craziest was: the tram actually ran accordingly to its schedule!"

    Background information: In the year 1975, Hungary was still part of the UdSSR (the communist state confederation of which Lenin and later Stalin were the leaders). The people in communist states were often very poor as the government (or, more accurate, the dictator and his men) cut the provisions and restricted the import of goods from any western states. Having grown up in Hungary the west german city Munich therefore will really have had an impact on him.

    But I bet you know that. I just thought I'd help you translate the part you didn't understand. Cheers