It’s not often that an artist plays a sold-out, 5,000 capacity venue at the age of 70. It’s even less common that an artist does this feat having only released two studio albums that, initially, sold poorly.
But, that is what Rodriguez did at Hammersmith Apollo on Friday.
Rodriguez (birth name Sixto Rodriguez) is a Detroit-born singer-songwriter who was thought to be the next Bob Dylan (a frequent comparison), but his albums sold very little on their initial release in the early 70’s.
Big Concerts announced today that Dave Matthews Band will tour South Africa for the very first time performing in Cape Town on 30th November 2013 at the Grand Arena, GrandWest and Johannesburg at the Coca-Cola Dome on 3rd December 2013.
Dave Matthews Band – comprising Carter Beauford (drums), Jeff Coffin (saxophone), Stefan Lessard (bass), Dave Matthews (vocals, guitar), Tim Reynolds (guitar), Rashawn Ross (trumpet) and Boyd Tinsley (violin) –has sold a collective 37 million CDs and DVDs combined. The group ranked as the biggest touring act worldwide of the past decade and has sold over 18 million tickets since its inception.
Dave Matthews Band will be supported by music legend Vusi Mahlasela. Vusi has shared the stage with Sting, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Josh Groban, Paul Simon, Ray LaMontange, among many others. One of his proudest moments was in 2010 when he helped ring in the World Cup at Orlando Stadium in Soweto at the FIFA Kickoff Concert. To date, Vusi has released seven studio albums on Sony Records and is signed to Dave Matthews’ ATO Records in North America; his hit songs include Silang Mabele, When You Come Back, and Say Africa.
Dave Matthews Band is touring in support of its latest album, Away From The World, which Rolling Stone named as one of the Top 50 Albums of 2012 while The New York Times’ Jon Pareles noted: “The songs have grown-up concerns, from lifelong love to the entire sweep of human history, in settings that range from sparse intimacy to intricate folk-and-funk excursions.” Produced by Steve Lillywhite, the record entered the Billboard 200 at No. 1, making Dave Matthews Band the first group in chart history to have six consecutive studio albums debut atop the chart.
Born in Johannesburg, Dave Matthews went to high school at St Stithians College but moved to New York in 1986. He has never performed in South Africa and this will be the first opportunity to watch Dave Matthews Band live in Cape Town and Johannesburg.
For reasons beyond the control of the festival, Rodriguez has decided to cancel his concerts at Primavera Sound scheduled for Saturday 25th May in the Parc del Fòrum of Barcelona and Friday 31st May in the Parque da Cidade of Porto. According to the communiqué released by the artist: “After many months of tour, Rodriguez has had to make the difficult decision to cancel and reschedule the first week of his European tour in an attempt to preserve his well-being and stamina and therefore will not be able to perform at Primavera Sound”.
The Detroit musician will however perform on the 8th July in the Poble Espanyol in Barcelona.
Those of you who have a day ticket for the Saturday 25th May in Barcelona or Friday 31st May in Porto and who in the light of Rodriguez’s cancellation no longer want to go to the event will be able to exchange their day ticket for a ticket valid for his concert on the 8th July in Barcelona. In order to do so you will have to send an email from Monday 20th until Friday 24th May to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “ Rodriguez concert”. After this deadline you will receive a ticket that you will have to present on the day of the concert along with the corresponding unused day ticket. If your ticket has been used to get into the festival you will not be allowed into the concert.
Those of you who have a full festival ticket or a day ticket for Saturday 25th May in Barcelona and who decide to attend the festival anyway, will have the opportunity to buy a ticket for the Rodriguez concert at the price of 5€. These tickets will only be on sale on the Saturday 25th at the festival ticket offices from midday until 10 pm or until they sell out. It will only be possible to buy one ticket per person on presentation of a full festival card or day card and correctly worn bracelet.
At the Barcelona edition the recently reformed band Chucho, fronted by Fernando Alfaro, will substitute the American singer songwriter on Saturday 25th May in the Parc del Fòrum. We will shortly be announcing who will substitute the artist on Friday 31st May at Optimus Primavera Sound in Porto.
With the help of Tully McCully, Crocodile Harris constructed ‘Give Me The Good News’ around a beautiful piano lullaby tune. Some lush orchestral sounds are added while Crocodile’s emotive vocals build into the crescendo of the brassy chorus that fairly soars. However, unlike some other anti-war songs, (Dylan’s ‘Masters of War’ for example), this is not an angry song. It is almost like a father telling a child not to grow up going to war. This feeling is perhaps brought on by the lullaby lilt to the piano and, as the song draws to a close, a child-like xylophone accompanies the piano.
Harris, (real name Robin Graham), scored it big with this anti-war song. Not only did the song spent 8 weeks on the Springbok Top 20 , peaking at number 14 in 1982, but also went on to shift 650 000 units in France. Who says good news doesn’t sell?
He seemed frail when escorted onstage by two women Wednesday at the sold-out Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul. But then he put on his dark-tinted glasses, his floppy black hat and his beige guitar and suddenly he transformed into Rodriguez, musician of mystery, melancholy and that Oscar-winning movie.
“Searching for Sugar Man,” which took the Academy Award this year for best documentary, told the story of an obscure Detroit folk-rock singer whose two albums from the early 1970s had somehow made him into a beloved cult hero in South Africa. Two obsessive fans there started searching for the singer, thought to be dead, and not only found him in Detroit but then brought him to South Africa for a series of major concerts in the late 1990s. It was all filmed and eventually turned into a 2012 movie.
It’s a fascinating story and a terrific footnote in rock history — that Rodriguez’s career was relaunched by an Oscar-honored movie.
And Rodriguez’s concert at the Fitzgerald was as winning as the movie. Maybe more so.
“I just want to be treated like an ordinary….legend”
With these words, offered in in humility and a little jest, Rodriguez took the stage for the encore of his May 4, 2013 show at the University of Texas’ Frank Irwin Center in Austin, Texas. The show was an embodiment of a dream fulfilled that was brilliantly depicted in the Malik Bendjelloul documentary Searching for Sugar Man.
Malik Bendjelloul is a Swedish filmmaker who was traveling the world looking for an amazing story when he stumbled into South Africa and learned about the legendary Rodriguez. His album “Cold Fact” and its follow up “Coming From Reality” sold over 500,000 albums in the African country. It is credited with helping rally the youth to become anti-establishment and critical of their own government so as to stand and fight against the dark practice of apartheid. To any South African, Rodriguez was, and is, bigger than Elvis or the Beatles.
Revolution Harmony, a new project dreamt up by music lecturer and journalist Ray Holroyd, will release a special charity single featuring System Of A Down frontman Serj Tankian, Devin Townsend and former Emperor frontman Ihsahn on July 18.
All proceeds from the single, titled We Are, will be donated to Buskaid, a charity that provides free music lessons and instruments to children in the townships of South Africa.
“It has been an absolute honour being involved with the Revolution Harmony project to bring much needed financial aid to Buskaid in South Africa,” says Serj. “Music has saved my life and has the potential to create positive change in all those young kids struggling to make themselves heard and to survive.” He continues on the single itself: “The song is a musical collage of complex yet moving colours intertwining genres and vibes.”
“Revolution Harmony is a dream come true, it’s the perfect harmonious marriage of my two callings: making music and making a positive change in the world!,” adds Ray. “We Are is the first milestone for Revolution Harmony, and to share it with three of my musical heroes, Serj, Ihsahn and Devin, who all believe in my vision, is deeply heartwarming and humbling. These musicians are overflowing with talent and compassion, and I am eternally grateful and monumentally honoured to have had them contribute to my cause by singing and playing on a piece of my music. The goal for these All-Star charity singles is to raise significant funds for various smaller charities, by making/selling creative and meaningful music that features rare collaborations by inspirational artists.”
“I’m not gettin’ old. I’m gettin’ dead.” Sixto Díaz Rodríguez, at age 70, standing before an enthusiastic, sold out crowd at The Warfield in San Francisco last night. He took time away from his set of late 60s folk protest rock and some surprising covers to engage the audience, often with humor (and some of it lighthearted and self deprecating) and incredible charm. I don’t know about the rest of the crowd, but if I could have one wish granted at the show, it would probably be to go up and give him a hug. He seems to be quite a sweet character, and beaming with happiness, which was not quite what I expected having his work on rotation for the 2.5 hour drive into the city. With boots, leather pants, black shirt and coat, and his trademark hat and glasses, he stood before us like some kind of elder statesman rock star… long lost and forgotten, that he was there at all playing on stage was as much unlikely as it seemed to be a part of his destiny. Truly an incredible opportunity to experience his music live and in person, I can’t imagine anyone in the room went away anything less that ecstatic with the show.
Who: Sixto Díaz Rodríguez
Who or Supporting: Giant Giant Sand
Venue: The Warfield
Where: San Francisco, California
When: April 23, 2013
Seating: General Admission Standing (front row center)
There was quite a crowd lined up outside The Warfield even more than an hour before doors, and a lot of excitement in the air about the evening before us.
For me, it was an even more, well, for lack of a better word, unbelievable night, in that I had two concerts planned… completely unrelated at two different venues in San Francisco. First up was Rodríguez… kind of a legend as well as would be legend (as showcased in the Academy Award-winning film, Searching for Sugar Man)… this show ran from 7:00 doors until 10:30. About a mile and a half away, I then caught the “late” Prince show at the DNA Lounge, with the music icon taking the stage there at 11:30 and running until after 2:00 AM… so it was quite a surreal night, and I couldn’t help but to draw some contrasts and comparisons to the two artists.
Singer Songwriter Sixto Rodriguez’s first album Cold Fact was released over forty years ago. Though unknown in America, his music had been a huge hit in South Africa since the 70s. Now years later, an Oscar-winning documentary has finally made him a star in his own country, and around the world.
South Africa has a special place in his heart and his daughter Eva was drawn to the place where her father’s music had resonated for so long. She settled in the beautiful Wilderness on the Cape Garden Route 12 years ago after a 20 year career as a pilot in the United States military.
Now, she has turned her life towards the healing arts. She trained as a Sangoma in the Eastern Cape and has found a deep connection to South Africa.
Like her father Rodriguez, Eva focuses on freedom, enlightenment and harmony, a message South Africa and the rest of the world seems ready to hear.
3rd Degree travelled to the Wilderness to meet Eva and find out about her journey, and what it’s like to be the daughter of Sugar Man.
3rd Degree is on e.tv, the eNews channel and SKY Digital Platform in the UK – on Tuesdays at 21h30.
South African music is entering an exciting era of opportunity and progress as new markets open up for homegrown sounds. This was one of the key messages emerging from the 2013 Music Exchange Conference, which saw industry moguls and musicians congregating at the iconic Cape Town City Hall to talk about the serious business of music.
For three days, from 21 to 23 March 2013, the City Hall was abuzz with the sound of music – with a full programme of workshops and panel discussions on making it, marketing it, getting it heard on various platforms and ensuring that it moves with the times.
This independent music conference, now in its third year, attracted hundreds of experts and delegates from across the music spectrum – from composers and publishers to record company executives and media – to share knowledge and ideas, network, perform live showcases and identify opportunities to boost South African music locally, regionally and abroad.
Among the high-profile music creators spotted at the conference were Vicky Sampson, Mynie Grové, Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse, RJ Benjamin, Chad Saaiman, Jimmy Nevis, Mark Haze, Dub Masta China and Arno Carstens, as well as industry heavyweights such as Universal Music A&R consultant Benjy Mudie, Cape Town Jazz festival founder Rashid Lombard and Rolling Stone SA editor-in-chief Miles Keylock.
The international speakers on the programme included acclaimed house music producer and remixer Charles Webster (UK), music promoter Doug Davenport (USA) and Africori CEO Yoel Kenan (France).
One of the conference’s undisputed highlights was the keynote address by Trevor Jones, moderated by Universal Records managing director Randall Abrahams. Now based in the UK, Jones was born in District Six and is considered one of the top five film score composers in the world, with several Golden Globe and BAFTA nominations as well two ASCAP Awards in the bag.
Jones has made an indelible mark on the global entertainment industry, scoring international blockbusters such as Notting Hill, The Last of the Mohicans, Mississippi Burning and The Mighty and working with the likes of U2, Sting, David Bowie, Sinead O’Connor, Britney Spears, Elvis Costello and Charlotte Church.
Jones became overcome with emotion after being given a standing ovation by delegates, who warmly welcomed him back home.
During his inspirational talk, he spoke about the importance of music education and his desire to give something back to South African music industry: “Key to South Africa’s success is hard work and building a positive perception of our country and us a nation,” he said.
Award-winning local singer, songwriter and guitarist Arno Carstens, who spoke at the conference about the song that made him famous, said it was an honour to be part of Music Exchange and it was encouraging and inspiring to see so many enthusiastic people attend and share their experiences and knowledge.
Joining Carstens on the stellar line-up of artists speaking about the song that made them famous, Vicky Sampson acknowledged songwriter Alan Lazar (formerly of Mango Groove, and now a successful composer based in Los Angeles), who wrote African Dream. “I am grateful that Alan gave me the song and did not pass me up for Mango Groove’s Claire Johnston,” Sampson quipped. She spent every minute of the conference absorbing and learning, as well as reconnecting with her mentor Benjy Mudie and her old friend RJ Benjamin.
Versatile singer, composer and teacher Benjamin, who has been invited to be a vocal coach for the upcoming season of Idols and will be composing SABC2’s new signature tune, continuously urged delegates to make use of social media platforms to reach new audiences. Benjamin stood out as one of the speakers to whom delegates were drawn and his presentations proved to be extremely popular.
After the weekend’s proceedings wrapped up, local music legend Hotstix tweeted: “What a conference; what great speakers and delegates – wow!”
Added a delighted Music Exchange founder and board member, Martin Myers: “We have been completely overwhelmed by the positive feedback we’ve received, and the animated conversations on social media platforms about the success of Music Exchange.
“Recording and performing artists, as well as composers and other industry players, have complimented the conference for being relevant, engaging and thought-provoking. There was a strong focus on the business side of music, which elevated this event above a mere talk shop: they left with useful, practical information that will undoubtedly be of immense value in their various professional ventures.”
Visit www.musicexchange.co.za to find out more about next year’s Music Exchange conference, or follow @musicexchange on Twitter.