One of underground rock's most unusual stories of the 1970s is the tale of an obscure debut LP, Cold Fact, by Detroit singer-songwriter Sixto Rodriguez. The politically-charged album became a source of hope and inspiration to the anti-Apartheid movement in South Africa, and it is now the basis for the thought-provoking new film, Searching For The Sugar Man, directed by Malik Bendjelloul.
In 1970, Rodriguez released his debut album to little fanfare in the U.S. The story could have ended there, but the LP found its way to South Africa's underground, where its Dylan-esque anti-establishment punch sparked rebellious young Afrikaners at the dawn of the anti-Apartheid movement. Though the album was banned by a repressive government, it was still widely bootlegged and traded among the population. The prophetic music fueled the conscience of a disenfranchised youth, despite the fact that Rodriguez's life and whereabouts were a mystery. It took nearly three decades before he was rediscovered, right at home in Detroit.
Both sides of the story - Rodriguez's life in Detroit and the subsequent impact of his music in the smoldering Apartheid era, pre-Nelson Mandela - proved fascinating to Stockholm-based documentary filmmaker Malik Bendjelloul, who took on the task of financing, producing, and filming Searching For The Sugar Man.
This soundtrack features the most definitive songs from Rodriguez's two albums, and reveals an artist whose lyrics are timeless, and whose message of hope confirms the resonating power of music.
The film premiered in New York at the Tribeca Film Festival back in April, and is currently open in New York and Los Angeles and will open in other markets throughout the month of August.
9/20 - Chicago, IL - Lincoln Hall
9/21 - Columbia, MO - Roots 'N Blues 'N BBQ Festival
9/23 - Minneapolis, MN - Weismann Art Museum
9/29 - San Francisco, CA - Bimbo's 365 Club
10/11 - Vancouver, BC - The Venue
10/13 - Portland, Oregon - Wonder Ballroom
10/25 - Toronto, Ontario - The Mod Club
10/27 - Sommerville, MA - Johnny D's
10/28 - Philadelphia, PA - Wold Cafe Live
11/02 - Pontiac, MI - The Crofoot Ballroom
11/17 - London, England - Royal Festival Hall
"A great triumph! A hugely entertaining, emotionally touching, and musically revelatory experience. - Todd Gilchrist (Indiewire)" —