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Vinyl Watch #1: Searching for Sugar Man

Vinyl Watch #1: Searching for Sugar Man

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Searching For Sugar Man.

Music is a powerful medium. We all know how empowering it can be. How it can expand beyond borders and influence people across the entire globe. Searching For Sugar Man is an award-winning documentary that looks into these aspects by telling the story of a cultural phenomenon that happened in South African during the 90s. This cultural phenomenon was inspired by the music of Sixto Rodriquez, a musician from Detroit. The documentary details the efforts of two Cape Town fans in the late 1990s, Stephen "Sugar" Segerman and Craig Bartholomew Strydom, to find out whether the rumored death of the American musician was true and, if not, to discover what had become of him.

Rodriguez’ hit single ‘Sugar Man’

Around the early 1970s, Sixto Rodriguez released his debut LP called ‘Cold Fact’, which was compiled of poetry-like songs and socially critical music. His music career, unfortunately, was very short-lived; Cold Fact and his sophomore album ‘Coming From Reality’ sold poorly.

Rodriguez' first album 'Cold Fact'

Somehow a bootleg copy of Cold Fact had made its way to Cape Town, in a time where apartheid was still alive. Contrary to the lack of success in the United States, the songs were revered in South Africa. Rodriguez’ music brought together both black and white people, which was highly unusual in South Africa at the time. This just goes to show that music truly has no cultural boundaries.

Though Rodriguez’ music was a huge success in South Africa, little was known about the man. There were rumors going around that he killed himself while performing on stage. Reason enough for two fans Stephen "Sugar" Segerman and Craig Bartholomew Strydom from Cape Town to find out what really happened to Rodriguez.

The documentary sheds light on the positive nature of music, yet also depicts a more emotionally tragic inflection of it, which is the life of Rodriguez. What follows is a bizarrely heartening story in which they found far more in their quest than they ever hoped for. Certainly a touching story and definitely worth spreading. Peep the documentary (divided into two parts) below and enjoy!

Looking for a copy of one of Sixto Rodriguez’ albums? We’ve still got a couple left in our store! You can find them here.