Academic, Social Awareness

HEAR Detroit

08.10.11 | 1 Comment

History Education Advocacy Research Detroit

HEAR Detroit’s mission is to become a catalyst for indigenous musical preservation and historical advocacy in Southeastern Michigan. We want to promote sound thinking for Detroit’s future. Carleton Gholz, PhD, and I have just launched this organization. We are currently forming a board of directors and investigating the option of non-profit status. Our goal is to provide an intimate and well connected network of education and preservation of musical culture in southeast Michigan. We are starting with electronic music in Detroit because this is where some of our shared expertise lies. However, Detroit’s extensive sonic cultural network requires preservation and education in expansive, broad, and deep ways. Jazz, Black radio, rock, rhythm & blues, techno, house, hip hop, noise, hardcore, these are all forms of sonic expression that have deep, long-term roots in Detroit and southeast Michigan. Not only do these styles of music and culture have significant foundational roots in Detroit, but the people of this region have a serious vested interest in creating, maintaining, negotiating, and educating about these cultural forms. In Detroit, there are limited resources. We all know this. There is limited time, space, people, money, etc. But there sure as hell doesn’t seem to be a limit of love and dedication! Lucky us!

Follow HEAR Detroit on twitter.
Visit the HEAR Detroit website.

If you have old reel to reel tapes with amazing sonic data on them and they are sitting steeped in Midwest humidity, or if you have somebody’s words on a DAT tape, or if you have important papers with regional documentation, or if you have musical paraphernalia that smells like some old mildewy vinyl you just picked up, we would like to be able to connect you with someone who can help with the preservation of those materials. We don’t want to just store your shit away, though. If you’re interested, we also are dedicated to educational action within the city of Detroit and the region of southeast Michigan. Detroit is an important site and requires as much advocacy and educational support as it can get. Carleton and I are in a position to begin to make these strides and connections.

Our first project occurred in Detroit on July 29 at the Submerge building, headquarters for Underground Resistance, Exhibit 3000 techno museum, and Somewhere In Detroit record store. With the assistance of Patrice Merritt, executive director of the Friends of the Detroit Public Library, Carleton organized a tour for a group of Detroit youth to tour Exhibit 3000 (edit: co-curated by Bridgette Banks and Carla Vecchiola). The teens are members of the organization known as HYPE (Helping Young People Excel) at the Detroit Public Library. The students walked from the DPL to Submerge that Friday afternoon ready for a tour and Cornelius Harris gave it to them! He knows what he’s doing and he does it well. A number of the students were really excited. One of the young women in particular was enthusiastic enough to sing over a beat that Nick Speed was playing on the turntable in the basement record store. All the students signed the walls or ceilings of SID.

Enjoy some Nick Speed:

And check this link from Loop Detroit on the man.

It was a truly inspiring experience to see teens who are residents of the city of Detroit, most of whom didn’t know anything about Detroit techno, house, or hip hop. They didn’t know Dilla. I cried inside. Cornelius spoke about Detroit history, techno history, record mastering and pressing, the music industry and Detroit musicians holding the rights to their own music, electronic equipment for musical production, Afrofuturism, Detroit radio, and significant people and moments in Detroit’s electronic music history. It was pretty awesome.

If you have questions, information, or requests, please email heardetroit (at) gmail (dot) com.

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