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July 6, 2022



Antonín Gondolán: If you're a decent person who looks good, you can get things done!

22.2.2022 7:04
Karel Gott (left) and Antonín Gondolán (right) performing at Czechoslovakia's
Karel Gott (left) and Antonín Gondolán (right) performing at Czechoslovakia's "Golden Nightingale" popular music awards ceremony in 1967. (PHOTO: ČT Art)

Antonín Gondolán first began performing music in the orchestra of Gustav Brom (1921-1995) at the age of 15, after which he joined Czechoslovakia's most popular theater, the Semafor - and from there, after performing at the Apollo, he made it all the way to Las Vegas, where he performed with Karel Gott (1939-2019) and the Štaidl brothers. What are his memories of Gott, and what is his opinion of the new book GOTT: A Czechoslovak Story, where the author, music journalist Pavel Klusák, describes that engagement in Vegas differently from the official version

"[Klusák] might be right about many things, but I don't approve of it," Gondolán says of the new book in an interview for ROMEA TV. "He should leave [Gott] alone."

"He's no longer here," says Gondolán, the last person alive who remembers the six-month-long hosting of the Czechoslovak performers in the USA. "For me, he was a singer like none other, he knew how to behave, he was always well-dressed."

"His career - he was a megastar later on," Gondolán reminisces. "Gott was basically a national treasure."

"To describe him as this or that is just not done," he says of his fellow musician. "However, the book does include moments of truth, that's a fact."

"I myself have emphasized more than once that we were not a hit in America," Gondolán admits in the interview. "That may have been a moment that hurt Karel Gott's feelings."

Back in Czechoslovakia, the tour was described as a phenomenal success for Gott, who went on to win Czechoslovakia's "Golden Nightingale" and then the Czech Republic's "Czech Nightingale" popular singing award 30 times. The ROMEA TV interview with Gondolán also asked him about contemporary Romani musicians. 

What does Gondolán think of the singer Bertík Girga, the singer Martina Balogová or Jan Bendig? What his is recipe not just for domestic success, but mainly international success? 

"It is not so easy to catch on in the outside world," he advises young musicians. "It is no simple matter to make your mark here in our country, in the republic, either."

"Out there, all that applies is just 'Show what you know how to do and what it looks like'," he says. "What you are, or what your skin color is, is not essential there."

"That's a big difference," Gondolán says of the Czech music scene. The interview includes reminiscences about his youth, how he met Frank Sinatra, and why the Gondolán siblings' band fell apart.

bng, brf, jal, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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