Sixto Rodriguez has seen a recent surge in popularity following the 2012 documentary, which looked at his beginnings as a musician in the early 1970's, with two album releases and then inexplicably having a resurgance in the '90s when his songs (with their counterculture lyrics) became anthems for South African anti-apartheid activists and musicians.
This will be the second time Rodriguez has toured New Zealand since his Australasian tours in the 1970's. Rodriguez played in Auckland and Wellington in March last year.
Legendary singer-songwriter Rodriguez will tour New Zealand this October prior to his Australian tour; playing shows in both Auckland (Monday 13 October) and Wellington (Thursday 16 October). Tickets are on sale on Thursday 28 August – go to Ticketmaster (Auckland) or Ticketek (Wellington) for pre-sale details.
A self-taught guitarist, Rodriguez is outspoken about his fondness for playing to antipodean audiences. He played here in 2013 to longtime fans and more recent converts thanks to the success of 2012's Oscar Award winning documentary ‘Searching for Sugar Man’. It tells the story of Rodriguez’s history that began with him playing in bars and clubs around Detroit in the 1960s, and ultimately saw him reach legendary folk-rock super stardom status in South Africa.
Along the way, Rodriguez recorded two studio albums in Detroit, ‘Cold Fact’ (1969) and ‘Coming from Reality’ (1971). These albums went unnoticed in the U.S. and Rodriguez eventually turned his efforts elsewhere, earning a bachelor's degree in philosophy from Wayne State University, running for political office and working construction and factory jobs to support his family.
In the mid-1970s, Rodriguez’s music gained airplay in Australia and New Zealand and he toured here finding limited success. Unbeknownst to him, South African anti-Apartheid activists and musicians alike were inspired by Rodriguez’s counterculture lyrics and he reached super stardom status in South Africa. However due to unsubstantiated rumours that he had died, it wasn’t until the late 1990s that South African fans finally sought Rodriguez out, leading to the unanticipated renaissance of his music career.
Rodriguez now tours extensively in South Africa, Australia, Europe, and the U.S., where he takes thoughtful appreciation in greeting longtime fans, and a new generation of listeners who find common ground in his music.