I’m Obsessed with Rodriguez
If you haven’t seen the documentary, “Searching for Sugar Man,” I suggest you scoot along and pick yourself up a copy, go down to the art house and watch it, if it’s still playing, or maybe see if you can find it on pay-per view. Whatever. Just see it.
I don’t want to give too much away, so I’ll keep this brief. In the early 1970’s a man by the name of Sixto Rodriguez was living in Detroit working construction by day and writing folksy songs in his free time. A couple of music executives heard him, were blown away by his raw talent and music, and gave him a shot at a recording career. He completed two albums that were not well received, and by, “not well received,” I mean, he might have sold six copies. His career went nowhere fast. That’s only where the story begins. Sixto Rodriguez happily went back to his life as a construction worker.
Meanwhile, unbeknownst to Rodriguez, his music, in the form of a single copy, miraculously found it’s way down to South Africa. He quickly became a pop icon as big, or bigger, than Bob Dylan and The Rolling Stones. In South Africa his music was played underground because it spoke of freedoms and politics that they were not yet enjoying at that point. Eventually his songs would spark the movement that would help end apartheid. That’s right, he was instrumental in ending apartheid. I still have a hard time wrapping my head around the significance of his music and the fact that he had NO IDEA what was happening on a continent, and in a country, so far away from his Detroit.
I’m obsessed with this story – there’s more to it, but it’s better if you watch it unfold yourselves. I’m so obsessed with his music. I literally haven’t stopped playing it since I watched the film last week. Mostly, I’m obsessed with the man himself. You can’t believe how totally pure and humble this man is. The qualities that he embodies are not just admirable but perhaps divine. There’s something strangely eternal about him. He seems wise beyond this world. He took his life, where he was a lowly worker, taking on jobs that no one else would sign up for, surviving in a harsh, dismal world, and created something beautiful that had the power to transform lives, even a whole country. To me he exudes the potential of the human spirit that we all have, but rarely, if ever, live up to. To me, he is a marvel. I’m better for having been introduced to his life. I know, powerful, right?
I said recently in a comment on Harper Faulkner’s post, regarding Anne Frank, that I believe God chooses the meek and mild to get His work done, to move things and help make needed changes. I think Sixto Rodriguez falls into this category very nicely.