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Searching For Sugarman

rodriguez searching for sugarman

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Poll: Searching For Sugarman (49 member(s) have cast votes)

Had you ever heard of the recording artist Rodriguez prior to the documentary "Searching For Sugarman"?

  1. Yes (12 votes [24.49%])

    Percentage of vote: 24.49%

  2. No (16 votes [32.65%])

    Percentage of vote: 32.65%

  3. Who? (21 votes [42.86%])

    Percentage of vote: 42.86%

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#1 Dallas

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 12:07

I'd like for just a moment to divert some of your attention away from photography and technology and share with you one of the most engaging and improbable but moving stories you're ever likely to hear in your life.

Imagine, if you will, that you're talented enough to play guitar and write lyrics to songs that some have said make Bob Dylan's observations of life at the dawn of the 1970's seem diluted in comparison. Imagine that you recorded an album that received critical acclaim but hardly ever sold a copy in your home country. Imagine that instead of following a life path as a musician or a songwriter that you ended up being a labourer in one of America's hardest cities, Detroit. Then imagine getting a call one day nearly 30 years later telling you that in a country somewhere halfway around the world you are a musical superstar who outsells Elvis and that everybody there thought you had committed suicide on stage. Sounds unlikely, doesn't it? Yet this is the amazing true story of the artist Sixto Rodriguez and it's just been made into an Oscar nominated documentary entitled "Searching For Sugarman".

About an hour ago I watched this on our subscription satellite TV service here in South Africa, the country where this amazing story unfolds. The documentary literally moved me to tears, because in part it's an incredible tale that has been beautifully crafted into a documentary film by a Swedish director named Malik Bendjelloul, but also in part because it kind of explains in its own unique way the weird and surreal experience of being a liberal white South African during a time when the world culturally shut itself down to us.

I grew up in a house where music was central to our family values. The earliest recollections I have are of listening to Sonny & Cher, Elvis and Ray Charles. When I was about 7 or 8 somehow an album entitled "Cold Fact" by somebody simply known as Rodriguez found its way into the periphery of my existence. My parents played it. Over and over. The words became as ingrained in my memory as the names of people I interacted with everyday. Everybody knew the album and everybody knew that Rodriguez had killed himself on a stage somewhere in that other world out there, the one we knew very little about. The album passed through generations. When I started my first job working at a bank in mid 1989 we'd sing these songs at the top of our voices long after the pubs had kicked us out in the early hours of Saturday mornings. They just stuck with us.

In the late 90's, as South Africa emerged from the cultural wasteland that apartheid had imposed upon us, some of my very persistent countrymen who were ardent fans of Rodriguez set about finding out what had happened to this mysterious folk singer. What they discovered is related in this brilliant documentary.



If I could prevail upon my friends here on Fotozones/Nikongear to do just one thing this year, it would be to watch this film. It will move you and remind you that the greatness and real measure of our lives is found not in what we possess, but in what we share with the world.

You can get the DVD/BluRay from Amazon.com
Learn more at Sugarman.org.

#2 Jack Seaman

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 12:27

This film played at the Traverse City, Michigan Film Festival last Summer and is a great movie. The concerts in South Africa were very emotional and moving. I can only imagine how you must have felt watching this. He is playing in Traverse City June 22 at the local wine festival. I've already got my tickets.
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#3 Dallas

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 13:00

Fantastic Jack! My youngest son and I watched the film together and he's now a confirmed Rodriguez fan too. The legend passes to a new generation.

I just found out that he is returning to SA in February for more concerts in Johannesburg and Cape Town, which are already sold out. Damn. I hope they will consider putting on a show here on our East Coast too.

I'm currently looking for the second album because I haven't heard it. Our iTunes doesn't have it available, so I'm going to have to scour the remains of the CD industry here for one. :)
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#4 vivionm

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 13:27

I voted "yes".

What is the substantive difference between a "No" vote and a "Who" vote?

#5 Dallas

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 13:40

A No vote includes people who may have heard of him now that the movie has been released. A Who? vote would be those who haven't seen the movie and still don't know who he is.
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#6 vivionm

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 13:51

A No vote includes people who may have heard of him now that the movie has been released. A Who? vote would be those who haven't seen the movie and still don't know who he is.


Quite right. My brain is not yet in gear today.

#7 jramskov

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 15:06

Just watched the trailer and it's now on my "movies to watch" list, thanks for the story!
Joergen Ramskov
I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by. [Douglas Adams]

#8 wildoat

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 18:02

Thanks Dallas,

You had me hooked with your words before I got to the trailer, one not to miss me thinks!

Tony
 

 

 

 

 

 

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#9 Jack Seaman

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 19:15

Dallas,

Amazon has both albums.

Jack

#10 Hampus

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 23:00

Albums are on Spotify as well. Although you guys can't use Spotify in SA, here's a workaround: http://matthewarnold...y-south-africa/



/Hampus
http://nikongear.com...?topic=1469.100

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#11 Wannabe

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 01:11

Make that a yes from me, Dallas! But, with a certain proviso -- I'm not entirely sure if my awareness of the man and his music came about before, during, or after the documentary was in process. Let me try and make some sense: I frequently come across anecdotal or studied bits of musicological minutiae, music indeed being so big a part of my life. In any case, I known of many such stories -- if not individuals personally -- not all as redemptive or with as nearly a happy ending. Or, should I say in this case, new beginning? Rodriguez rocks! BTW I have a hunch there will be added dates and venues to the scheduled SA tour. Stay tuned!

#12 Dallas

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 04:28

It's great to hear that a new audience is being exposed to this awesome musician. I sure do hope that they add more dates to the tour, but I hope they all realise the guy is over 70 now!

#13 PatrickO

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 17:55

Remember the tape playing in the armoured vehicle in the middle of nowhere going to nowhere, 40 degrees and lots of dust. Senior folk saw it as anti-establishment but left us alone. It was also played quite a bit in Yeoville pubs in Joeys in the 80s. I saw him on stage in Boksburg in the late 90s.

Edited by PatrickO, 12 January 2013 - 17:56 .


#14 Ann

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 20:42

I have only heard of him because the story has been in the News for a while now, but I seldom listen to much music because I find it distracting (my mind seems to be only capable of running on a one channel at a time?!) and prefer the classical genre when I do.

#15 wildoat

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 21:06

I have only heard of him because the story has been in the News for a while now, but I seldom listen to much music because I find it distracting (my mind seems to be only capable of running on a one channel at a time?!) and prefer the classical genre when I do.


You are totally right Ann music can be distracting and rightly so.
Here's an example which renders me useless to do anything other than just listen!


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#16 Larry

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 11:55

Very interesting Dallas. I have just ordered a Blu-Ray Copy. Thanks.

#17 jramskov

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 12:36

I watched this the other day and just watched it again together with my wife. It's an amazing story and it must be complete surreal for him.
Joergen Ramskov
I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by. [Douglas Adams]

#18 Helodrvr

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 16:33

His name is a new one for me as well. Thank you for the heartfelt post and the trailer. At 62, I can tell you that this is the first time I have been aware of him. But I intend for that to change in the immediate future!

Mel Hughes

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#19 RKPhotog

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 17:49

In the US there was a segment of the CBS show "60 Minutes" recently that featured Rodriguez. Before that, unfortunately very few Americans had ever heard of him. I hope that changes and he finally gets the recognition he deserves in his own country. You can see the "60 Minutes" clip through this link https://secure.huffi..._n_1947767.html
You need to sit through a short ad for FIOS first.
Bob
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#20 Dallas

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 18:14

I am truly happy to have turned a few more people on to his music. He's touring here this month, but unfortunately not in my city so I won't get to see him play.




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