Wednesday 27 February 2013

Rodriguez film wins an Oscar

A story that is so strange that it must be true, so writes Andrea Nagel in her Film Revue, the Times Friday August 31st 2012.

1971 and I was by then an SA resident, the music over the radio often included songs from Cold Fact, a record made by Rodriguez and I believe in the USA? the album sold just 6 copies in the USA but when it was pirated and released in the RSA, some 500,000 copies were sold!

Taken from the Sunday Times (?) and dated September 2nd 2012. 
Why my interest in this man? Well about three years back I made contact with Stephen Segerman of Mabu Vinyl, Rheede St,Cape Town. I was trying to find a drive belt for my old Yamaha turntable, Stephen told me where to try and I have been playing my records ever since!

The shop that Stephen runs has large pictures of Rodriguez on the walls, some of them show the man at the shop, so they are more than passing friends, what I did not know was the story behind finding Rodriguez after so many years.

The story was so good that they made a film about the man and his discovery, that film won an Oscar on Sunday night, February 24th 2012!


Now I need the mans records of course.

Rodriguez wearing a Mabu Vinyl tee shirt.

Stephen in his record store.

Rodriguez now has an Academy Award to his name after ‘Searching For The Sugarman’ won Best Documentary in Hollywood.

Rodriguez: Photo Ros O'Gorman

‘Searching For The Sugarman’ was a British-Swedish documentary telling the story of Rodriguez’s incredible success in South Africa in the 70s and 80 even though not only was Rodriguez unaware of this fame but how the South Africans also thought he was dead.

Bluesfest director Peter Noble said, “After being the first country in the world to realise his greatness – AND to continue to bring him back for his fans over recent years – it is incredible to see Rodriguezfinally getting his dues after working in obscurity for so long – Welcome back Sugarman

Directed by Malik Bendjelloul, Searching for Sugar Man tells about the obscure Detroit singer and made a near-sweep of documentary awards since its premiere at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.

"Thanks to one of the greatest singers ever, Rodriguez," Bendjelloul said during a brief on-stage speech.

The film tells the story of how for years it was thought that the 1970s singer-songwriter known as Rodriguez had either committed suicide, or faded into obscurity. But through the searches of music lovers Stephen 'Sugar' Segerman and Craig Bartholomew Strydom from South Africa, where he unexpectedly achieved a startling level of fame, he was discovered to be very much alive, living and working as a construction worker in Michigan, having never achieved recognition in the US or anywhere else in the world.

Rodriguez himself was not at the Oscars, having just completed a tour of South Africa