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Oscar buzz attracts Rodriguez fans to Cape Town record store

posted 21 Jan 2013, 10:30 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 21 Jan 2013, 10:31 ]

Fans of American musician Rodriguez flock to Cape Town record store featured in Oscar nominated documentary 'Searching for Sugar Man'.

SONY PICTURES CLASSIC -  Fans of American musician Rodriguez have been flocking to Mabu Vinyl, a record store in the heart of Cape Town, which features in the Oscar nominated documentary 'Searching for Sugar Man'.

The documentary details the quest of two of Rodriguez's fans - Stephen "Sugar" Segerman and Craig Bartholomew Strydom - to find out what happened to the Detroitfolk musician. Largely unknown in his native America, Rodriguez was hugely popular in Apartheid-era South Africa. Yet after releasing two studio albums in the early 1970s, Rodriguez withdrew from the musical limelight, leading to rumours of his death amongst his South African fans.

Segerman said that he never imagined the story of his search for Rodriguez would end in the making of an award winning film.

"Eventually it became a search, then it became a discovery, and then it became a tour, and then it became a website, and then it became a re-releasing of Rodriguez's albums, and then it became a meeting with Malik Bendjelloul, a Swedish TV journalist who was just looking for short stories, and here we are now in 2013 and we've been honoured with an Oscar nomination", he said.

Rodriguez's music continues to resonate for his fans, and the documentary's success has brought visitors from the around the world to Mabu Vinyl in order to meet Segerman and purchase Rodriguez's music. 'Searching for Sugar Man' has also boosted Rodriguez's profile, with the musician scheduled to tour South Africa in February 2013. John Langford, from Big Concerts, says the documentary has brought people of all races and ages together to celebrate Rodriguez's music.

"It's not just the fact there's a movie, it's such a good movie that thousands and thousands of South Africans have been to watch it, and they've either reminisced about what is Rodriguez or they're learning about Rodriguez. So in terms of ticket sales, we're seeing everything from black to white, young to old, it's not typically the Rodriguez fan that you would imagine", he said.

'Searching for Sugar Man' won the Special Jury Prize and the Audience Award for best international documentary at the Sundance Film Festival. It is nominated in the Best Documentary category at the 2013 Academy Awards and 2013 BAFTA awards.