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who is sixto rodriguez?    Musicians are liquid beings, and that’s not only because of the relationship they have with alcohol. Musicians are liquid because every time you try to tie one down, restrain them in any way or lock them away somewhere, well, they just spill out through your fingers and off they go. The musical chronicle that is the TV series Treme (David Simon, creator of The Wire), set in post-Katrina New Orleans, masterfully portrays the musician and their circumstances.

Sixto Diaz Rodriguez, son of a Mexican immigrant that arrived in the USA in the 1920s, is one of those liquid musicians. He was called Sixto because he was the sixth son to be born to his parents. He was born in Detroit and from a very early age experienced first-hand the crude reality of social inequality. He expressed these experiences in his music. He first appeared on the Detroit music scene in 1967 where, working as a studio session musician, he started to work on his own material. His lyrics reflected his social commitment and he sang them to folk-rock, psychedelia and pop tunes. However, his records didn’t really stir up much interest in the USA, so he finally gave up on music and set about providing for his family in a different way. Music, fortunately, will follow its own course. The record Cold Fact, picked up somwhere by a fan, started getting airplay on the radio in Australia and New Zealand. But it was South Africa was where it really became hugely popular. Rodriguez’s music and lyrics arrived on the South African scene just in time to quench the thirst of the anti-apartheid progressive element of the young white South African population. As a result, Rodriguez returned to the boards and, toured South Africa successfully. Now, thanks to a new documentary, we have all been introduced to Sixto Diaz Rodriguez.

The documentary, Searching for Sugarman, is the result of an obsession by Swedish TV journalist Malik Bendjelloul. When he heard the Rodriguez story, he decided he wanted to make a film about it. Music documentaries are becoming more and
more common (and more and more clone-like too) and this one in great part hits the nail right on the head, as if it were a detective movie, because when it comes to telling the story of Rodriguez’s life, it doesn’t try to tie him down, restrain him in any way or lock him away anywhere.

Dock of the bay jaialdia

Searching for Sugarman has won this year’s Dock of The Bay festival. Previously, it had won an award at Sundance, and as we write, it has been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary at this year’s Oscars. There can be no denying that the people at the Music Documentary Film Festival in San Sebastian were quick to spot this one. For the first time, this year there is competition in the Official Selection, and as well as that lots of concerts and parties have been added to the bill. Capsula’s live performance of David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars at the Antzoki Zaharra got the audience on their feet at what was a pretty unforgettable concert. We certainly hope that the Dock of The Bay festival carries on down its chosen path and that next year its music and films blow away the burdens of our post-Christmas depression.