Goldfish performs their tribute to Rodriguez’s iconic track ‘Sugarman’ at their Summer Residency Submerged Sundays, Shimmy Beach, Cape Town. Thanks to the 2012 Oscar-winning documentary ‘Searching For Sugarman’, the incredible tale of American recording artist Sixto ‘Jesús’ Rodriguez has been heard by millions of music fans worldwide.
Unheard of, forgotten, virtually ignored in the US, Rodriguez was revered and idolized in South Africa, where his censored ‘Cold Fact’ album became a political touchstone for thousands of South Africans fed up of apartheid and racial inequality in their country.
Themselves one of the most successful recording artists in South African history, live electronic band and MTV winners Goldfish have chosen to celebrate Rodriguez’ work ahead of their US tour by remixing ‘Sugar Man’ from ‘Cold Fact’.
The pair’s reworking is as sensitive to the original subject as it is beautiful. For those fearing an EDM revamping, nothing could be further from the truth. The deep, dreamy remix is testament not only to Goldfish’s high-end production and composition skills, but also their close affinity to and understanding of the track. The hazy, heady, almost hallucinogenic spirit of Rodriguez’ ‘Sugar Man’ is still very much intact, in parts stripped down to a few lush piano chords, other times sweeping the listener up in a warm envelope of sound and emotion, Rodriguez’ haunting vocals guiding the single the entire time.
Dave Poole and Dominic Peters, who fly out to Rodriguez’ home country after their sold out ADE Special with Bakermat this Thursday, (available to view live on Be At TV here) spoke about why they decided to pay tribute to one of South Africa’s highest grossing artists.
“Going over to America as South Africans, it made sense to highlight the biggest connection for us between the two countries.” Poole said. “For any South African, Rodriguez is as legendary as they come and we all grew up knowing his music. He’s an icon.”
For decades, South African fans thought the folk singer had committed suicide. Wild rumours circulated varying from him shooting his brains out on stage, to setting himself on fire in front of a horrified audience. The truth, it turned out, was that the man ‘Cold Fact’ co-producer Mike Theodore deemed “better than Dylan” was working as a construction worker in Detroit. A curious and enigmatic figure, he had absolutely no idea of the impact or commercial success he’d enjoyed thousands of miles away on another continent.
“It’s kind of crazy thinking about just how influential Rodriguez has been on generations of South Africans – including us,” Peters said, “and he never knew a thing about it. For us there was no better way to show our love and appreciation for a man that really was only about the music, than to put our twist on one of his greatest tracks. We hope people enjoy it and we hope that it introduces his music to a whole new audience in the process.”
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