Karel Gott is a singer and painter, and has been a fixture on the Czech entertainment scene for half a century. Some consider him the “Sinatra of the East”. Even at 66 years of age, he is still just as active as ever, although this year he is staging his first “good-bye” tour. He has won 30 Zlatý slavík (Gold Nightingale) awards, which are given every year to the most popular pop singer in the country.
If you are in the Czech Republic for more than just a visit, you are bound to come across Karel. You can hear him on the radio, see him in any number of variety shows on television and he always seems to pop up at the end of award shows. He can be seen grinning on the covers of magazines. In April, he was in the news because his 30 year-old girlfriend gave birth to his daughter. The Supraphon label recently released a DVD with his hits of the 60’s. And at the end of this month, Karel Gott’s own museum, Gottland, will open to the public.
On some days, it is hard to avoid Karel. I don’t know how many times I have walked into the living room when the TV was on and there he was, delivering an award or singing one of his new songs. One evening I visited my favorite Chinese restaurant and along with the printed reviews posted by the front door, I noticed a photo of a smiling Gott surrounded by the happy chefs and waitresses.