Detroit Sound Conservancy to highlight Detroit music

Detroit music

In recent years Detroit has been too well known for too many of the wrong reasons, sometimes justifiably but oftentimes not so much. But for those of us who live here, or whose knowledge of the city extends at least a few inches beyond the boundaries of a news headline, we know that Detroit’s greatest contribution to the world (in addition to mass production of the automobile) is Detroit music. Because, quite frankly, nobody can touch us when it comes to that. Name your category or genre and we pretty much got it covered.

It’s not bragging unless you’re lying.

Sure, Berry Gordy’s gone. So is Motown. But the music never left. It may not be what it was, but even limping on one leg without a crutch Detroit can whup just about anybody else’s ass like a rented stepchild when it comes to quality musical output.

So tomorrow, on Friday, May 23, at the Main Branch of the Detroit Public Library, the Detroit Sound Conservancy (yes, I’m on the board, full disclosure) is hosting a daylong conference focusing on the sheer impact and power of Detroit music entitled “Conserving Sounds, Telling Stories; The First Annual Detroit Sound Conservancy Conference on Detroit Music.” Check out DSC founder Carleton Gholz’s piece in Model D Detroit.

Also, further down the street, will be another great one-day Detroit music conference, The Detroit Berlin Connection, hosted by Walter Wasacz, who also wrote about the event in Model D Detroit here.

Here’s a sampling of what it’s about:

The Detroit- Berlin Connection is a story about how Berlin counterculture has transformed the city over a 25-year period, since the fall of the wall and the reunification of the capital, with the help of a common language everyone could understand: Techno. The Detroit-Berlin Connection project is an attempt to return Berlin’s transformational energy back to the city of its origin: Detroit.

Mike Banks started “UR” with Jeff Mills and Rob Hood. Tresor was found and it’s 1st 12″ release was “Sonic destroyer” by Jeff, Mike and Rob. It became a smash in Berlin, then worldwide and this classic track opened the techno alliance between Berlin and Detroit. The inspiration of Detroit techno has influenced the entire electronic techno community. It would be fair to say that Detroit techno has caused the biggest youth movement in the last century. We still cannot understand why this cultural format did not receive the attention in Detroit it deserved. The success and public reception of the techno movement in Berlin was also a door opener for different genres from fashion to art.

The time has come to give something back to Detroit.

All of this is as a sort of intellectual prelude to Detroit’s Movement Electronic Festival coming this weekend, and if that doesn’t whet your appetite as a music lover, I give up.


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About the author
Writer and musician.


Lonnie Motley

2014-05-22 23:13:20 Reply

I agree with you keith do you remember me from P Funk or Robert Nolls Band it’s been a while Keith contact me please so we can talk I just spoke to Mike Banks This Morning we go all the way back . This is still my town DEEPTROIT peace


    2014-05-22 23:32:37 Reply

    Hey Lonnie! Hell yeah I remember you man, for sure. Still remember that gig I did with you when we drove down to NYC with Bobby Murray for that showcase gig and I was filling in on vocals. That was a kick.

    Anyway, good to hear from you and contact me anytime. Email is

    Take care

Elayne Sikelianos

2014-05-23 02:43:22 Reply

Wonderful that the dynamic and truly soulful THORNETTA DAVIS was chosen as the photo/person to be icon for this conference. Thornetta has been “UP WITH DETROIT” since she was born! She spreads love, joy and honesty whenever she sings (or even speaks, for that matter!). Good choice!


    2014-05-23 02:44:54 Reply

    Thank you Elayne!


    2016-05-17 14:10:42 Reply

    You get a lot of respect from me for writing these helpful arietlcs.

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