Leslie Mandoki – Orbán’s friend and lobbyist at the Beacon Theatre in New York

Many of you may not have heard of the ManDoki Soulmates, a “concept group” led by 64-year-old Leslie Mandoki. Recently Mandoki announced the group’s ‘Wings of Freedom’ post-GRAMMY concert on January 29, 2018 at the Beacon Theatre in New York City, saying “ManDoki Soulmates embody the creative spirit of the 1970’s, when artists were striving not only for individual virtuosity in musical expression, but also for unlimited and unrestricted individuality and freedom.”

New York concert poster of ManDoki Soulmates.

The announcement added: “Sixty years ago, TIME magazine named the Hungarian Freedom Fighter ‘Man of the Year.’ Their story, their fight and their longing for freedom in 1956; inspired me to spread the message of freedom to others with the power of music. This spirit gave us the title of our concerts because as we all know, dreams can only fly on the wings of freedom.”

In the announcement Mandoki is called “a world-renowned German-Hungarian musician, producer and songwriter” and the ensemble described as “a group of musical rebels and idealistic freethinkers who endeavor to be authentic and honest, and support common global values for free people in a free and tolerant world.” Hmm.

Mándoki László left Hungary in 1975 at the age of 22 and settled in Germany. In 1979 he was part of a German pop-group performing Dschinghis Khan a song which was the German entry for the Eurovision Song Contest 1979. He also worked as a music producer and did commercial ads for various German companies. Leslie carved out a respectable musical career in Munich.

A couple of years ago Mandoki started to appear in the company of Viktor Orbán, Hungary’s authoritarian Prime Minister. The musician declared his admiration for the nationalist leader. (Hungary paid for Mandoki’s concert films – read here in German.)

Mandoki is often seen socializing in the company of his friend, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.

Soon it was revealed that the Orbán government is supporting Mandoki’s concerts with 1.4 billion Ft (approx. 6 million USD) taxpayer money to improve Hungary’s image. Mandoki recently was in New York at the Hungarian Consulate to promote Hungarian wines. (Mandoki’s concerts receive funds from the Hungarian government – read article in Hungarian here.)

Mandoki (left) promoting Hungarian wine with Ms. Helga Gál, Wine Ambassador and Consul general Ferenc Kumin in New York.

I have a feeling that Mandoki and his group are on thin ice when they try to connect their music with political propaganda. The promotional material calls Mandoki “the Hungarian Quincy Jones.” Let me assure the readers: he is not! Quincy Jones would never endorse Mr. Orbán’s policies.

György Lázár

One Comment

  1. Andy Vajda in music… The comparison is quite an insult for Quincy Jones…

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