Searching For Rodriquez

The documentary, Searching for Sugar Man, tells the incredible true story of Rodriquez, the greatest 70’s rock icon who never was. The documentary was shown at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and won two awards: World Cinema Audience Award: Documentary, and Special Jury Prize. It also won the 2013 Oscar for Best Documentary, and yet many in North America had never even heard of the musician Rodriquez before.

Rodriquez released two albums in his late 20s: Cold Fact (1970) and Coming From Reality (1971). Both went bust in the US. Rodriquez’s music struck a chord with South Africans during apartheid in the 1980s. According to a 2012 article in The New Yorker, somewhere between 500,000 and 1 million copies of his album sold in South Africa, with the artist not receiving any royalties. Completely oblivious to any of this, he was working in construction and demolition. It is said that he didn’t even know of his own fame until his son and daughter happened upon a website in 1998 dedicated to him.

No one knew that the mysterious singer, whose music has been so often credited with helping in the fight against apartheid, was living in a small home in the US. In fact, his existence was so obscure, rumours started to circulate that he had died. The search for Rodriquez spurred the documentary, which contributed to his growing fame on home soil. In 2012, Rodriguez appeared as a musical guest on the Late Show With David Letterman and was the topic of a CNN feature story about his life and career.

His songs have hundreds of thousands, and some even well over a million, views on YouTube. In most of his music, he takes a political stance on the cruelties facing the inner city poor. In 1991, both of his albums were released on CD in South Africa for the first time.

His appearance in Kitchener is a rare moment in this artist’s history that may never repeat itself. Get your tickets here.