Rinaldo Olah was born in 1929 near the village
of Zvolenska Slatina in an area called Uhrady. His father Jan was a famous
musician. Rinaldo inherited his musical talent from his father, aristocratic
character from his grandfather and untameable desire for freedom, as well
as irresponsibility, pride and even conceit from his ancestors. He is so
proud that in a heart-to-heart talk over a drink he reveals secretively
the idea that Roma musicians are superior to others.
He took his first steps as a musician under the leadership of violinist
Ondrej Sokol. As a young boy he went to a musical school in Zvolen and
that was it. According to Rinaldo, it was just enough! Even though he passed
the entrance exams at the academy of music in Prague and the world-known
virtuoso, David Oistrach also invited him to join his class, the young
boy did not start his further studies. He was not able to overcome the
untameable nature of a wanderer and wanted to remain himself, whatever
the price. Nevertheless, his talents "sentenced" him to success. He practised
a lot and improved at a dizzying speed.
He excelled in his technique, expression and performance and was much
better than the other first violinist were. His composition excelled even
more. He played with the SLUK (Slovak Folk Art Ensemble) for more than
twenty years and visited many countries. After that he became the conductor
of "Folk Music of the Slovak Radio" in Bratislava; that was the period
of his life during which he composed the most works.
Rinaldo has become a living legend.
It is very difficult to evaluate the personal life
of this man of great contrasts, but who at the same time knew what he wanted.
There have been less positive moments in his life, but they have not had
a negative influence on his playing. When he takes his violin in his hands,
everything is forgiven him - even the fact that he has drained several
glasses to the dregs because having a bit of alcohol in his veins enhances
his playing. To illustrate that we have published an excerpt from "Vychodna
"Suddenly I've got the creeps down my back! Rinaldo Olah is walking,
or more accurately - he is rolling towards me. The great RINALDO! ... He
looks old and while he is playing his violin his nerves are playing a very
special game with his face. The result of it are grimaces, grins, wry face,
blinking, and smacking of his lips. The crowd of people around him gets
bigger and bigger and they applaud Rinaldo's virtuosity loudly. They (the
Roma) look at him admiringly, and at us with triumphant expressions saying
that you are really inferior..."
Rinaldo Olah lives his own way of life in Strkovec
in Bratislava. From time to time he plays. He no longer has his own violin,
but he has got both hands full of beautiful memories which he loves to
share with everybody.