Sweet success for 'Sugar Man'

Sweet success for 'Sugar Man'


Searching Sugar Man Movie_L
Photo: AP
In the 1970s, few in his native United States had heard of folk singer Sixto Rodriguez. His early recordings flopped and his music career seemed over before it had begun. So forgotten was he on the world stage that rumours said he had died.

Years later, his unique sound and lyrics of class struggle struck a chord a world away in apartheid-era South Africa. Unbeknownst to the singer, Rodriguez had become a household name there.

Two determined South African fans set out to discover the truth. Their story inspired the award-winning documentary, Searching For Sugar Man.

When, in 1968, two renowned producers heard Rodriguez play in a downtown Detroit bar, they were instantly bewitched. They recorded his album, Cold Fact, believing it would establish Rodriguez alongside the greats of his generation, like Bob Dylan. The first track on that album was the 1970 song Sugar Man. The album received good reviews but failed to sell, and Rodriguez soon disappeared from view.

He would have remained in obscurity had not a bootleg recording of Cold Fact found its way to South Africa, where his sonorous voice and powerful lyrics became a soundtrack for a nation struggling under apartheid.

Bewitching and visually resplendent, this film is heartwarming and inspirational.

YP Rating: 4/5

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