Searching for Sugarman

I don’t watch a lot of feature length documentaries. Not sure why. Perhaps my attention span for such content doesn’t usually last more than the typical History Channel timeslot. But I’d been getting such rave reviews about Searching for Sugarman that I had to go. And I SO was not disappointed.

It’s a remarkable story in and of itself. A singer from the early 70’s, Jesus Xisto Rodriguez, is literally ignored in his home country – so much so that he ekes out his living as a day laborer and has been living in the same drafty Detroit apartment for the last forty years. Unbeknownst to just about anyone however, his music has struck a chord with a nation on the other side of the planet where, it turns out, he’s bigger than Elvis and has sold over 500,000 records over several decades. More amazing still is that when the man himself is found, he’s like a mystic, a humble, personable, completely unassuming aesthete. And when he gets on stage for the first time, in front of a screaming crowd of 20,000 people, it doesn’t phase him either. It’s just remarkable. A remarkable, compelling, personal, redemptive, human journey. These are indeed the days of miracles and wonder. I loved it. And yes, I cried.

It jumps from Detroit to Cape Town (looks great on film) and back, so the locations, whilst glorious, are not a surprise. I’d rather leave you with the music….. And yes, as a South African, it’s basically my patriotic duty to be a Rodriguez fan and know all the words. This one though is still by far my favorite: