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Have you still not found the Sugarman?

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Have you still not found the Sugarman?

This is the story of a man, his voice and a great revolution. 

His journey started in 1967. Ah, the 60’s! The likes of Bob Dylan and Cat Stevens were the front runners of music. The Beatles echoed in the walls of every teenagers room. And amongst all that vinyl, hiding in plain sight, was Sugarman. Those of you who do know him, may also be more familiar with his real name ,Sixto Diaz Rodriguez; a true artist with luck running behind on time. He set the stage for his talent with a single called ‘I’ll slip away’.  He went on a musical hiatus for the three years that followed. 

Rodriguez’s music journey took a turn when his revolutionary albums "Cold Fact (1970) " and "Coming From Reality (1971)" were released by Sussex Records. But midway recording his third album, Rodriguez was taken off the Sussex Records label and his incomplete album still remains incomplete. A recording artist, in a revolutionary time, and yet his talent did not take centre stage in America. His live concerts weren't welcomed much either. Rejected, unaware and dejected Rodriguez stopped his music career and moved back to his hometown, Detroit.

Even though, his albums didn't receive any popularity or fandom in America, there was an audience beyond the waters of the Atlantic, that heard and imbibed his songs. At the same time when America rejected Rodriguez's golden music, the Africans waiting for a revolution finally found their inspiration.

What had the Africans feeling strong about their revolutionary stance, was echoed in Rodriguez's music; it was rebellious, revolutionary and took a political stand against the situation of the poor. Suddenly, the common people of Africa felt they had a voice and the right to take a stand for themselves, for their nation and Rodriguez's songs became Anti Apartheid Anthems.

Sugarman was now the hero of millions. But, did he ever get to know about his music being imported to South Africa? Did he know his rejected albums went platinum by inspiring and enlightening millions of Africans during the Apartheid era?  To find out, the real devotees of Rodriguez went on a search. And all of you must, too.

To be continued...

 

 Author: Ayesha Dikshit