Rodriguez in Concert

Photo by Erica Bruce. This photo is for sale. Email to inquire.

Sixto Rodriguez is a legend in South Africa. He is of Mexican descent and from Detroit but, for some reason, his album Cold Fact made it big in South Africa. He is pretty much unheard of in America but that should soon be changing since a documentary called Searching for Sugar Man was just made about him. It was released this year. He was a figure of myth until they tracked him down and discovered that he hadn’t offed himself or died in mysterious circumstances.

I grew up listening to Cold Fact and it was a real treat to see him, last Thursday, in an intimate concert at Sixth & I Synagogue in Washington D.C. There were many South Africans who, similarly, had to pay respect to the man who has shaped their culture in such a significant way. It was just him and his guitar, no fancy backing musicians like when he played Letterman the other day.

At the age of 70, he is still performing and wowing audiences. He is a bit frail at this point but that doesn’t mean that watching him live is any less of a thrill. His songs, mostly recorded in the 1970s, still connect with people these days – especially since he writes about drugs, the inner city poor, and relationships. Things that don’t go away.

“Why can’t you trust women? Because you can’t trust men. Trust no one.” – Rodriguez

The South African flag made an appearance.

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