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Sep. 02 2012


By Judith Krummeck | Posted in Host Blogs | Comments Off on Sugarman

Noêl Coward has Elyot say in “Private Lives”, “It’s extraordinary how potent cheap music is.”  Well, I think most music is potent, cheap or not, and I was reminded of this all over again when I went to The Charles this weekend to see “Searching For Sugarman.”  My creative nonfiction professor alerted me to it because I have written a lot about Cape Town and living through apartheid in her classes, and this documentary is an incredibly moving account of how the music of the Detroit singer-songwriter, Rodriguez, which faded from memory in America, caught fire in South Africa during the apartheid years, igniting a quiet protest, and the more the authorities tried to ban it, the more iconic it became.  I must confess that all these years later I would not have been able to put a name to the artist, but as soon as I heard “Sugarman”, “I Wonder”, “The Establishment Blues”, “Inner City Blues” and all the other familiar tracks from the album “Cold Fact” I was instantly transported back to my student years in Cape Town, when those songs were part of the mix along with Simon and Garfunkel, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Don McLean and other icons from that era. This is a wonderful documentary, not only because of the music and the breathtaking scenes of Cape Town but also because of the way it captures the soul of the man.  An added connection is that one of the main protagonists, Craig Bartholomew-Strydom, now lives and works as a writer in Baltimore, Maryland. As I commented in my last blog post—small world.


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Judith is WBJC's afternoon host. Her full bio can be read here.

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