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Interview: Musician Rodriguez, Director Malik Bendjelloul Are ‘Searching for Sugar Man'

Chicago – The name Rodriguez alone, although it carries a mysterious cache, isn’t identifiable as any individual. Rodriguez is Sixto Diaz Rodriguez, but when he was a troubadour musician in the 1960s and ‘70s he was simply “Rodriguez.” His extraordinary story is told in the new film “Searching for Sugar Man,” directed by Malik Bendjelloul.

Rodriguez released two notable albums in consecutive years when he first began recording, “Cold Fact” (1970) and “Coming from Reality” (1971). The brilliant tone poems were supersonic dreams from the consciousness of the era. But the albums, and the songs, went nowhere. As with many musicians, Rodriguez faded into obscurity, taking on journeyman jobs in his native Detroit. But half a world away, something amazing was happening. The country of South Africa, so beaten and sorrowful because of apartheid, was embracing the albums and songs of Rodriguez. He became a sensation in the country, and he didn’t even know it.

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