Searching for Sugarman
Last week I saw the documentary 'Searching for Sugarman'. The film unfolds the true life story of Rodriguez, a promising 1970s musician who had once had it all; the record deal, the mystique and all the promise of a burgeoning folk-rock icon. Yet somehow he never quite hit the big time. Instead of fame and fortune, his excellent album flopped and he melted into anonymity. Rumour had it he had committed suicide on-stage or ended up in jail or something similar. But by some still unexplained twist of fate a bootleg of his recordings made it to South Africa, where his socially conscious lyrics and stand-up songs became anthems of the anti-apartheid movement. Unbeknownst to Rodriguez or anyone in the USA, he became a serious legend in the turbulent region. This film uncovers what actually happened to Rodriguez, and it’s an unbelievable twist! See the clip below to find out why....
This movie is completely un-missable and the story reminded me of criticisms often directed at world music stars who achieve international fame but remain unknown in their homeland. Rokia Traore among others has been accused of not representing the true landscape of popular African music, but instead playing to the western ‘world music’ crowd. Perhaps Rodriguez’s remarkable story is proof that truly powerful music transcends nationality and place, and can speak to people differently and deeply right the way around the globe.
Latest Blog Posts
Win A Copy Of The Rough Guide To African Music For Children our online competition