Musician and music producer Leslie Mandoki celebrates his 70th birthday. "But when you see him like that, you don't really think it's possible," says his friend and bandmate Till Brönner (51) of the news agency spot on news about the 70-year-old. "It's the music that keeps him young," Brönner is convinced. "He's living the dream of his life and it should never end," said the trumpeter about his companion. Brönner is one of numerous stars and celebrities who came to the Munich Künstlerhaus for Mandoki's milestone birthday on January 7th.
Mandoki was born in Budapest in 1953 and grew up in Hungary. In 1975 he fled the then communist government to Germany and settled in Munich. Originally he wanted to move on to the USA. But "luckily" he decided differently, as Bavaria's Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU, 56) gave him in a speech at the celebration. Söder obviously had fun and joked: "You manage to bring the irreconcilable together. You can say that tonight: Armin Laschet and I are both there together."
The band Dschinghis Khan was Mandoki's breakthrough in 1979, and the songs "Dschinghis Khan" and "Moscow" achieved cult status. Later, the man with the strong mustache founded the ManDoki Soulmates, with whom he could show his more jazzy style, but also his own history.
"Mandoki's music is biographical across the board," explains Till Brönner. "You discover a life story that has become music. And nothing is more exciting and authentic than the truth."
With the ManDoki Soulmates, Mandoki dared to launch his own project, which also celebrated its 30th anniversary. Since its inception, Mandoki has always gathered big names on stage, including Jethro Tull singer Ian Anderson (75), Toto founder Bobby Kimball (75) and US keyboardist Tony Carey (69). The latter was with him on the birthday stage on Saturday evening, as was his longtime friend Peter Maffay (73). Mandoki even lives next door to Maffay in Tutzing on Lake Starnberg. And the 73-year-old is not only convinced of the musical qualities of the birthday boy.
"He's an excellent cook," revealed Maffay on the sidelines of the gala. There is goulash from Hungarian cuisine, but there are also plenty of "piñatas" to be enjoyed at Mandoki, he enthused. "He's mastered it all," says Maffay. He gives the birthday boy a touching speech later in the evening. Also moving was the loving speech by Charlotte Knobloch (90), President of the Jewish Community in Munich, who confessed in Hungarian: "I love you!"
But the most emotional speech was given by his children Lara and Gabor Mandoki. The 33-year-old actress even spoke of the "most important speech of her life". With tears in their eyes, both thanked their father for his support, advice and understanding. The heartfelt words were followed by the most intimate of the many hugs that evening: that of the three Mandokis.
All well-wishers can agree on one characteristic of the host: his "huge heart". In addition, according to star trumpeter Till Brönner, there is "joy and gratitude" as someone who "really put everything on one card" and won. As a result, Mandoki always remained persistent with artists he wanted to play with. "Today he's on an equal footing with them and it's no longer a bow to his idols, it's a wonderful way of growing together," says Brönner.
On this evening it becomes clear what Mandoki means by "music builds bridges": not only musicians and politicians enjoyed the evening, but also celebrities from the most diverse social areas. In addition to actor Heiner Lauterbach (69) and ex-national goalkeeper Jens Lehmann (53), WDR director Tom Buhrow (64), artist Markus Lüpertz (81) and business manager Wolfgang Reitzle (73) and his wife, presenter Nina Ruge, also celebrated (66) with him. In addition, the former Federal President Christian Wulff (63) and his wife Bettina Wulff (49), Bavaria's Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann (CSU, 66), the former Bavarian Prime Minister Edmund Stoiber (CSU, 81) and many others were guests.