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Sixto Rodriguez

Rodriguez, Paul Robeson, and Complicated Narratives of Reception

I’ve been thinking a bit about reception history, both because of Andrew’s post on two reviews of Jonathan Sperber’s new biography of Marx and because of Searching for Sugar Man, which recently won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature and which I saw last week (warning: there are some spoilers in the discussion that follows, to the extent that a documentary can be spoiled). The film essentially concerns the distinctly bifurcated reception of the early ’70s American singer-songwriter Rodriguez, who was totally obscure in his own country but, unbeknownst to Rodriguez himself, a huge star in apartheid-era South Africa. Read more