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Friday, April 5, 2013

A stranger in his own land: Rodríguez

For the fifth day of the poem-a-day challenge at the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads, Marian introduced many of us to an extraordinary singer named Sixto Diaz Rodríguez.

The Academy Award-winning 2012 documentary Searching for Sugarman about this Detroit-born scholar/singer/excavation worker brought awareness of Rodríguez* and his talent to North America many long years after he had, unbeknownst to him, become an icon in several African countries, and a star in Australia and New Zealand.

Now 70, he has again captured the imagination of his former producer, who is looking into some of the 30 new songs Rodríguez** has written.

Wikipedia photo
Marian provided us with a video clip of the singer on David Letterman's show, and links so we could read about him.

After seeing Marian's challenge, the Imaginary Garden's favorite South African, Kerry O'Connor, told us she and her children have long known the words to every song Rodríguez ever released.

I had never heard of him until today, but wrote the following poem after listening to him and reading about him. I wish I had known of him before.

 * Wikipedia link
** Sugarman link


thinking about Rodríguez
and how his music helped to save
a country not his own
on a continent far removed
from what he knew

but he knew many things,
this philosopher
with the blood
of many nations
in his veins

one thing he didn’t know:
that his music would become
the soundtrack
against discrimination
more than half a world
away




11 comments:

Joyful said...

Kay, thanks for dropping by my blog to see the spring tree blossoms. Each year I wait rather impatiently for this time to come. The last two years it came late. I do understand your impatience but when the blossoms arrive it will be so great!

I saw (and wrote about) the documentary movie about Sixto Rodriguez last Fall here at the Fifth Avenue Cinemas. It was fascinating and I'm glad he is getting some recognition while he is still here to enjoy it. His story has a very interesting connection with South Africa.

Enjoy your weekend. Hugs. xx

Marian said...

incredible, isn't it? i'm still just stunned by everything about Sixto Rodriguez and his story, and his impact.
simply incredible. and you're right, his music was/is a soundtrack for a movement, a generation, and all those cliches. true fact. cold fact! :)

Kerry O'Connor said...

It's is an amazing legacy for any poet or musician to see the change his art has wrought.

Kim Nelson said...

We never fully realize our impact, and Rodriguez' story is perfect proof of that. Nicely told.

Grace said...

It's amazing what his music has inspired ~ That is the power of music, it doesn't seek boundaries ~

Kay said...

I heard about him during the Academy Awards for the first time. Your poem is a beautiful tribute, Kay!

Helen said...

Great poetry, Kay ... aren't we blessed to have been introduced to him, to his music?

Mary said...

Kay, this definitely is a fitting tribute. Beautifully expressed.

Other Mary said...

I hadn't heard of Rodriguez either before Marian's prompt. And I wish I had read your poem before I wrote mine! I really like this!

Ellecee said...

A fitting tribute indeed,,,I particularly like your words
"the soundtrack
against discrimination" which his words certainly are,,

Hannah said...

Powerful truths stated so clearly and poetically, Kay!! Excellent. :)