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The Oscar goes to "Sugar Man" for best documentary

Chris Lopez

In between Ben Affleck’s awkward statement about his marriage and Jennifer Lawrence tripping on the stairs, you may not have heard about the winner for best documentary “Searching for Sugar Man." 

It’s a film about a Detroit-area musician named Rodriguez who was virtually unheard of in the U.S., but a music giant in South Africa.

Detroit Free Press freelancer Christopher Walton wrote about his own search for "Sugar Man" more than a decade ago. It started when he heard Rodriguez' music when traveling in Africa.

I listened to the first two cuts, “Sugar Man” and “Only Good for Conversation,” captivated by a sound I’d never heard before, a weird amalgam of folk rock and Motown with a psychedelic tinge. By the time “Crucify Your Mind” came on, I started firing questions to the guys in the room. Who is this guy? And why haven’t I ever heard him before now?

When he got home from his trip, he tried to write a feature story about this elusive musician for the Detroit Free Press:

It’s easy to understand how difficult it was for the filmmakers to track Rodriguez down. They were on another continent, and knew nothing about him. I had lived less than 10 miles away from him all my life and it took me weeks to finally make contact.

Rodriguez is now experiencing a rebound in his popularity as a result of the film.

For more information:

NPR and CBS 60 Minutes both have in-depth pieces on Rodriguez if you’re interested in learning more.

Here’s Rodriguez on You Tube playing "Sugar Man:"


And here he is playing "Can't Get Away" from a few years ago:


- Chris Zollars, Michigan Radio Newsroom