I just wanted to let Rodriguez & his family know what an inspiration his music has been to so many people.
My husband and I discovered Rodriquez at Bluesfest, Byron Bay Australia. We have worked several years building the festival and was given a Rodriguez t-shirt by a good friend of ours. (It’s an XXL.. so I often wear it as a nightgown!)
We decided to discover the music and after watching the documentary recently, I was admired by the generosity of this wonderful man. The sorrow and the hardship but still so giving and positive. Incredible music and such a beautiful voice.
Thank you so much for being you.. I am sure your music will continue to inspire many people around the world 🙂
Hello, Mr. Rodriguez, my name is Michael Prieur. I live just across the river from you in Windsor Ontario Canada. I’ve been so fascinated with your life story, and what you have stood for. I’m wondering if there is anyway if I drove across the border, if you would autograph my arm in permanent black marker so that I can get it tattooed permanently having you with me. Yes you are that important to me your music and what you stand for. I’m hoping that this finds you in good health. I’m really hoping that this can happen. As well as meeting the incredible person you are.
Cover Art by Maud Instrumental Composed and Produced by Flying Fisher Engineered and Produced by Mercyy Additional Production by GuiLLm Piano – James Bernard Harp – Marie Kathleen Hamilton Guzheng – Beryl Liu and Shirley Xu Erhu – Yilong Sun Additional Engineering by Ross Koopmans and Heonjoung Heilie Yang
My father had this album (I’m 46 now), and for some strange reason, Side A was on both sides of the LP – will never forget.
I hope and pray that an artist of such poignancy and beauty, finds it in himself to release one more song. with Spotify and Youtube, releasing an album is no longer necessary.
Just one more song….. there are 25 songs we have (by my count)
Are you referring to “Cold Fact” or “Coming From Reality”, Steve, as the album you father had?
Actually Rodriguez has officially released 27 tunes (not counting live songs), if you include the 1967 single version of “I’ll Slip Away” (credited to Rod Riguez) and it’s b-side “You’d Like To Admit It”.
Searching For Sugar Man is a 2012 documentary film about a South African cultural phenomenon, written and directed by Malik Bendjelloul, which details the efforts in the late 1990s of two Cape Town fans, Stephen “Sugar” Segerman and Craig Bartholomew Strydom, to find out whether the rumoured death of American musician Sixto Rodriguez was true and, if not, to discover what had become of him. Rodriguez’s music, which had never achieved success in the United States, had become very popular in South Africa, although little was known about him in that country. On 10 February 2013, the film won the BAFTA Award for Best Documentary at the 66th British Academy Film Awards in London and two weeks later, it won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature at the 85th Academy Awards in Hollywood.
I’ve been a fan of your music for quite some time now and had never realised your story until now. I’m not sure if this message will ever reach you, but if it does, I would like to express my gratitude for your music and the beauty of your lyrics. I have nothing but admiration and respect for you, and I wish you all the best. Have a lovely Christmas.
Some songs become part of you. Listening to your music is like being 19 again, scooting from home to Uni in my friends Hilman Hunter at speeds that still scare me, and the soundtrack was always you. It’s no small thing to do what you did, to reach out and touch so many people. Thank you for the wonderful soulful music.
It’s no secret that the renowned DJ, Gilles Peterson, has long been a fan of South African music, especially the sounds coming out of Cape Town. Gilles is a French broadcaster, DJ, and record label owner. He founded the influential labels Acid Jazz and Talkin’ Loud, and started his current label Brownswood Recordings in 2006. He was awarded an honorary MBE in 2004 and is currently hosting his very popular and acclaimed Saturday afternoon music program called ‘Joining The Musical Dots’ in which he features a mixed-up selection, “joining the musical dots” between soul, hip hop, house, afro, electronica, jazz and beyond”, in his own inimitable style.
On his recent ‘Joining the Musical Dots’ program, on Saturday 22nd October, Gilles played the brand new John Wizards’ track called ‘Rwangaguhunga’. Back In 2017 Gilles was one of the first DJ’s to pick up on the strange story and wonderful music of the Cape Town group John Wizards and brought them into his studio during their UK and Europe tour where they played live.
In August of that year, the British newspaper The Guardian’s music editor, Tim Jonze, wrote a feature on John Wizards, documenting how Emmanuel Nzaramba, a Rwandan car guard in Cape Town met John Withers, a South African advertising music writer, and after adding some of John’s musical friends to the band, they became John Wizards.
The band later released its self-titled debut album, which showcased their unique sound featuring elements of R&B, soukous, Afropop, reggae, South African house, Shangaan electro, and dub, and included the singles ‘Lusaka by Night’ and ‘Muizenberg’. At the end of 2017, the band’s album appeared as No 8 on The Guardian’s list of the 40 best albums of the year.
The six piece band, consisting of vocalist and guitarist John Withers, vocalist Emmanuel Nzaramba, drummer and percussionist Raphael Segerman, bassist and keyboardist Alex Montgomery, guitarist Tom Parker and guitarist and keyboardist Geoff Brink, combined electronic sounds with more traditional African influences on their self-titled debut album, and the success of that album led to their touring extensively across Europe alongside Mount Kimbie and Jagwar Ma.
John Wizards effectively began when John Withers met Nzaramba outside a coffee shop in 2010 and the two became friends. They subsequently fell out of touch for a period. In 2012 they happened upon one another in Cape Town and it turned out they were both living on that same street. Prior to their meeting again, Withers had been working on recording and producing the set of musical ideas that would later become John Wizards’ self-titled release of September 2013.
Nzaramba added vocal recordings to some of the songs and began to perform with the rest of the band. John Wizards released a mix tape in August 2012 that roughly sketched out the songs to be included on the album. This mix tape was passed on to Mike Paradinas, owner of Planet Mu records. Planet Mu would announce the band as part of their roster in November 2012, releasing the album some ten months later.
In February 2017 Gilles visited Cape Town to record an audio documentary about the city’s musical heritage as part of Lufthansa City of the Month. The documentary followed Gilles over the course of a day as he set out to learn about the history of the city’s music, and infiltrate the dynamic contemporary scene. He began with the music of the Khoisan Bushmen, through to Cape Jazz of the ’60s, onto hip hop of the ’80s and ’90s, through to the spoken word and current musical climate of today. By discovering where the music was from and where it was going, Gilles discovered what makes Cape Town so special.
In the documentary, Gilles visited a bunch of the local music scenes’ leaders to hear their stories. From jazz musician Tony Cedras to spoken word artist Khadija Tracey Heeger, local hip hop legend DJ Ready D, the Chimurenga crew, legendary A&R Donald ‘Jumbo’ Van Renen through to today’s upfront talent like Nonku Phiri! The show also featured tracks by Tony Cedras, Miriam Makeba, Dollar Brand, Jumbo Track, Black Disco and more.
On that trip, Gilles also visited the iconic Cape Town record shop, Mabu Vinyl, where he met the shop’s founder and owner Jacques Vosloo, as well as the staff like DJ Mighty, SA online music guru Brian Currin and Stephen ‘Sugar’ Segerman of ‘Searching For Sugar Man’ fame.
On Saturday’s ‘Joining The Musical Dots’ program, after playing the newly-released John Wizards’ track ‘Rwangaguhunga’ (starting at about 24 minutes), Gilles also mentioned that the drummer from John Wizards, Raphael Segerman, is also the son of Stephen ‘Sugar’ Segerman, thereby “joining the musical dots” between John Wizards and Sixto Rodriguez followed by his playing of Rodriguez singing his own track, ‘Can’t Get Away’.
Just found you. !!!! Wow, where were you hiding.!!(?) I watched the film. Like a long lost **prophet**; the lives you touched was in the long applause. He who walked in their youthful lives was there to heard and seen. They wait for his blessing through music. They weren’t disappointed. This moment in their lives will never pass away. As he passed they felt his love and energy. What a moment to be sure for both parties. What a forever time. Wish I’d been there too. Keep love flowing, keep music playing.
The story of Sixto Rodriguez can be boldly called one of the most powerful in the history of music. His songs were copied by millions, they inspired anti-apartheid warriors, and legends were being told about him, while he was working at construction sites back home. One of the best songwriters from the end of the hippie era has finally earned the merited recognition thanks to the Oscar documentary “Searching for Sugar Man”. We are very happy that Pohodans were able to enjoy his performance on Pohoda 2018. https://www.pohodafestival.sk/en/
Rodriguez: Vocals, Acoustic guitar Steve Cooney: Guitar, mandolin (from Australia) Doug McDonald: Drums (from New Zealand) Jake Salazar: Bass José Guadiana: Flute
Jake and José were Americans who left three-quarters of the way through the tour and were replaced by an Australian Joe Creighton on bass. The local boys all came from the Mark Gillespie Band who were the support act.
…his aussie tour in 79 was an awesome experience…
Stuart, Australia, May 1998
We will never forget the atmosphere and power of Rodriguez first Australian performance at Melbourne’s Dallas Brooks Hall on 15 March, 1979. (We have the “Alive” record released here and treasure it)
Jason and Anne, Australia, April 1998
Sydney Morning Herald, 19th March 1979
Rodriguez – 10 years after by Ted Robinson
Rodriguez Regent Theatre
Rodriguez’s first Sydney concert was the stuff that dreams are made of. A man lost in time and space he reeled on to the stage to pick up the threads of a 10-year old career. A generally young audience on Saturday embraced both the myth and the man supporting his every move with astonishing warmth. He was theirs and they were his. Not such an unusual occurrence or at least until you know the Rodriguez story. A decade ago he made a couple of records in the United States. They went unnoticed and he turned his thoughts to other things: an academic life, social work; and unsuccessfully running for both local and State office. Unbeknown to him, his records continued to sell… and sell in Australia, where until recently his background has remained a total mystery and the subject of much conjecture. He has long since passed the cult stage with gold records, a published anthology of his writing and now nationwide sold-out concerts. This huge success has something of the fairy tale about it. Not only for Rodriguez, but for the two young Australian promoters who have seemingly pulled off an enormous gamble… to play Svengali to his Trilby.
Rodriguez writes (or wrote) simple but often dark songs of street life, drug culture and street life love. His neon-lit world celebrates characters that would be equally at home in Damon Runyon or William Burroughs. Some songs take the form of powerful commentaries and some are merely musings, most seem to somehow, almost inexplicably, touch the emotional pressure points of a young middle-class white Australian audience. Technically the night was sometimes shaky but more sound than you might expect from someone who virtually hadn’t performed for eight years. Someone plucked from innocent obscurity and delivered to the pressures of expectation and anticipation that surrounds the living legend. Whoops of joy and recognition greeted the introduction to each song, often a chord, feel or broken arpeggio was enough for the identification.
Even when he faltered in the introduction to a song and had to start again the spell remained intact. Ovation poured on ovation. Rodriguez sang his songs, hunched over his guitar and drank nervously from empty cups. Finally he told his audience “after ten years you gotta be kidding… I’m just an everyday person”
Rodriguez has several more Sydney concerts at the Regent and State theatres.
The Australian, 19th March 1979
Nervous virtuoso by Karen Hughes
Rodriguez was nervous. On Saturday night the house lights of the Regent Theatre dimmed and the band began to play but there was no sign of the tall, enigmatic Mexican singer. Suddenly from the wings he appeared, looking frail in a beige suit and open neck blue shirt carrying what appeared to be a student’s briefcase and a handful of music sheets. Hard core fans screamed, shouted and gleefully exchanged knowing smiles as Rodriguez, eyes downcast, but beaming excitedly, sat on his stool, turned side-on to the audience and after a sip of something soothing began the familiar opening to Street Boy. There was a collective sigh of relief as the phrases tumbled out with the same intensity that had enamoured listeners of his two solo albums. Obviously his talent had survived the changes of a decade completely intact.
Unused to playing large concert halls, Rodriguez managed to transform the Regent Theatre into a smoky intimate club. A kind of holy communion which only cult performers inspire was taking place…The only thing wrong was the singer’s own continuing nervousness — though he did eventually manage to move around the stage, face the audience and exchange jokes. Rodriguez sang and played his guitar with great authority and presence. The thunderous applause which greeted every number was modestly directed to his musicians. With him from America were Jake Salazar on bass guitar and José Guadiana on flute, though it was the Australians, guitarist and mandolin player Stephen Cluney (actually Cooney) and drummer Doug McDonald (both from the supporting Mark Gillespie Band), who provided the music’s real push.
Apart from a rare and strong empathy between performer and audience the music was the most important factor in the Rodriguez concert, a not insignificant fact in these days of glittering stage and lighting extravaganzas.
Perth 1979 I remember going to his Perth concert in 1979 because I loved Cold Fact. The concert was pretty disappointing and I said so in a review I wrote for the local evening newspaper, the Daily News. Rodriguez appeared to be right out of it, mumbling and carrying on like more excessively than Dylan in 1966. I wrote a scathing review which his daughter may have shown you. In hindsight, I should have been more tolerant. I look back on his music with great affection. I’m astonished and pleased to hear he is still on this earth and singing.
Arthur Hanlon, May 2000
Steve Cooney Fair play to you! I played guitar/ mandolin on the Australian tour in 1979 and my name is Cooney not Cluney! I was amazed at the Perth reviewer’s ‘repentence’!
My abiding memories of Rodriguez are his sensitivity and vulnerability. I particularly remember a delicate moment when a gentle breeze blew his lyric sheets around, but he caught them so delicately; he and the wind seemed to be really at one…
Steve (in Ireland), March 2001
My name is Jake Salazar. I am the bass player who went to Australia with Rodriguez the first time around in 1979. What an experience it was for all of us. I am ecstatic although not surprised that Rodriquez is still making music and doing well as an entertainer. I got an email from someone who stumbled upon my name while visiting a website pertaining to Rod.
It has been many years since that tour. I have nothing but admiration for him and feel honored to have worked with Rod. The thing we went through to prepare for that tour and the events leading to each concert were ritually rock and roll. Rod is a phenomenal song writer and composer. A composer who creates melodies that establishes lyrical visions.
I remember the afternoon José Guadiana who was on the tour asked me if I would join him and return back to the US on account of him and Rod having a fall out. I tried to change José’s mind and I also tried to talk to Rodriquez but to no avail so we were both asked to leave. Basically, Rodriguez fired us both in the middle of the tour. I have always regretted what happened. I enjoyed being around Rodriguez, Connie and the kids.
José Guadiana has since passed away and I haven’t done so bad after 3 Grammy Nominations as a record producer (1986, 1997 and most recently in 1999). I really hope that Rodriquez continues writing and performing his great songs. I will always be a fan and a friend. I would enjoy to someday jam with him again.