Musician and Producer Leslie Mandoki and His Mandoki Soulmates Release New Audio-Visual Work Utopia for Realists
The project features Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull), John Helliwell (Supertramp), and visuals from world-famous animator Gábor Csupo
From the LifeMinute.TV Team
December 17, 2021
World-renowned Hungarian singer, drummer, songwriter, and producer Leslie Mandoki reunites his band project Mandoki Soulmates to release the new audio-visual work Utopia for Realists. The new progressive rock project merges concert film footage from the Prog Rock suite “Hungarian Pictures,” which commemorated the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall with visionary concepts from famous animator Gábor Csupo.
Best known for his work with greats like Lionel Richie, Phil Collins, and Chaka Khan, as well as for his work as the musical director for Disney’s feature movies, including Mulan, Tarzan, and Brother Bear, Mandoki has several remarkable achievements. His earliest feat was escaping his beloved homeland of Hungary, which was overtaken by Soviet-imposed policies.
Born in Budapest in 1953, Mandoki fled the communist dictatorship and censorship in Hungary for the West with his friends László Bencker, keyboardist and composer, who later composed for Spongebob Squarepants, and Gábor Csupo, who was later the creator of Rugrats, Aaahh!!! Real Monsters, and Duckman, and the original animator for The Simpsons. However, the trio was caught in Denmark and taken to Germany to the central camp for asylum seekers. When asked by a German resettlement officer what he wanted to do in the West, Mandoki replied that he would like to make music together with Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull, Jack Bruce of Cream, and Al Di Meola. In 1992 this came to fruition when the four became the founding members of the Mandoki Soulmates.
Almost 30 years later, Mandoki and his Soulmates have released 13 albums. The band’s recordings and performances have included singers and players such as David Clayton-Thomas of Blood, Sweat & Tears, Bobby Kimball of Toto, John Helliwell and Jesse Siebenberg of Supertramp, and many more.
Some of these artists are featured on the recent release Utopia for Realists, including the closing song “The Torch.” Mandoki explains the track is about passing on the torch as "Old Rebels" to their offspring and inheritors, the "Young Rebels," for more mindfulness and justice between generations. When the young and old come together, this is a dialogue he encourages families to engage in during the holiday season.
The accomplished musician visited the LifeMinute studios to speak with us about his latest work, brilliant career, inspired collaborations, and incredible life journey. This is a LifeMinute with Leslie Mandoki.