Gott and Sinatra fought for him. The famous Romani musician is celebrating his 80th birthday

The music in Antonín Gondolán’s life came first. This talent from God attracted not only Karel Gott, but also the star singer Frank Sinatra. Gondolan celebrates its 80th birthday on Monday.

He was born in Slovakia, but moved to the Czech Republic with his parents when he was two years old. And together with 12 siblings, he belonged to a Romani family, where music played in the first place. Antonín Gondolán received his first engagement at the age of 15, without knowing the music.

When the legendary Gustav Brom heard him in Vrchlabí, he immediately asked Father Gondolán to let young Tonda play the bass in his orchestra. Brom didn’t mind the fact that he didn’t know the notes. He immediately sent him to the Brno Conservatory, from which Tonda later transferred to the Prague Conservatory.

With Gott to Las Vegas

At the Rococo Theater, Gondolán met Karel Gott and the Štaidl brothers to immediately establish the Apollo Theater. It was 1967 and they went on a legendary tour of Las Vegas together. Antonín and the star Frank Sinatra heard there and another offer was on the table.

Antonín Gondolán Source: Profimedia

However, Gondolan remained loyal to Gott, and he could not imagine emigrating and living without a home or family. The desire to perform with the siblings led to the founding of the Gondola Brothers Group, which gained the first experience and popularity of the audience alongside Gott.

Wait and don’t cry

Two years after returning from America, Gondolan filmed its most popular hit Wait and don’t cry, of which 150,000 were sold on the single. Gondolas traveled around Europe, but the ensemble gradually disintegrated. This is because in one country this or that brother always fell in love and got married. Sister Věra, whose untimely death last year, affected Antonín a lot, was especially famous in Australia.

In addition to music, Antonín Gondolán also did business for a while, living in Germany, but never lasting a long time without a homeland. He could play all the musical instruments his father had at home from an early age, but the bass and then the bass guitar clearly won. Although, as he says, to really learn the instrument, it takes at least 25 years of playing.


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