Photo Courtesy of Light In The Attic Records
Back in July, I wrote of a documentary about Searching For Sugarman. Sixto Rodriguez, an elusive Michigan musician had released some music on the Sussex label in the 1970’s then disappeared. One of his tracks, “Sugarman” was a cult classic with the record community (and although it has been on my want list for quite some time, I still don’t have a copy!). His story, like many other musicians of his time is the same. Musician releases a few records. The records don’t do much in the US, then the artist fades into obscurity. However, unknown to Rodriguez, his music became an anti-apartheid rally cry in South Africa. There he was more popular than the Elvis. The problem was, he didn’t know it. This powerful movie was about the search for this man, his music, and to bring forth the truth from the multitude of murky myths his life story got twisted into.
“ He [Sugarman] genuinely doesn’t want to take credit for this film. … He’s genuinely a humble man and he wanted to stay at home in Detroit and watch it on television. ”- Simon Chin, producer
Last night, before an audience of a billion people, the name Sixto Rodriguez was finally known world wide. Searching For Sugarman won the Academy Award for Best Documentary. One of the clear favorites, it beat out heavyweights 5 Broken Cameras, The Gatekeepers, How to Survive a Plague, and The Invisible War to take home the Oscar. While record nerds may have known about Sugarman’s music on vinyl, they may have not known his story. Now, thanks to Swedish film maker Malik Bendjelloul, the whole world knows who he is. His music can be resurrected properly (also thanks to Light In The Attic Records) and perhaps he will get his propers here in the United States. It’s always great to see a documentary that hits close to the world wide vinyl record community do so well and win an award like this. The film itself had already won at the Directors and Writers Guild Awards, the Critics Choice Awards and the BAFTAs previously. Why not an Oscar? Congrats to the Searching For Sugarman team and to Sixto Rodriguez. Sussex records and Detroit, MI stand up!
Buy Rodriguez records from Light In The Attic here.
Rodriguez performs “Sugarman” on The Daily Comet