DJ Juan Atkins, DJ Terrence Parker,
DJ Minx, DJ Marcellus "Malik" Pittman
DJ Rick Wilhite, DJ Mike Clark
DJ Theo Parrish
Cornelius "Atlantis" Harris,
October 21, 2006
"ROOTS OF TECHNO:BLACK DJs
THE DETROIT SCENE"
(A MINI CONFERENCE)
Archives of African American Music and Culture
Indiana University, Bloomington
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Despite the national and global influence of techno and the role of African Americans in its development, she said the genre has been excluded from the collection development activities of music libraries and archives. The AAAMC hopes to initiate the collection of archival materials and facilitate scholarly research of techno through the conference at IU.
The only other known educational or museum effort devoted to the genre was an exhibit held at the Detroit Historical Museum for 18 months in 2003-04. Catherine Burkhart, Sulaiman Mausi and Lina Stephens, who is now at the Motown Museum, were the exhibit's curators and they will be presenting at the IU conference, along with Beverly May, a historian and contributor to Maultsby's recent book, African American Music: An Introduction (Routledge, 2006).
For Denise Dalphond, a graduate student in ethnomusicology, the conference will allow her to create better understanding of music she embraced while growing up in the rural community of North Judson, Ind. It is also her master's thesis project.
"It is very important to look at it [techno] from an academic standpoint," Dalphond said. "To be able to document the DJs' stories in person, in this kind of setting, and to have all the musicians together, having their stories recorded, is important for documentation and preservation.
"I think people are still wary to classify a DJ as a musician," she added. "Scholars don't embrace the concept that the equipment that a DJ uses is a musical instrument."
Among the artists coming to tell their stories is Juan Atkins, widely credited as one of three originators of techno music, along with childhood friends Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson. Atkins coined the term techno to describe their music, taking as one inspiration the works of futurist and author Alvin Toffler, from whom he borrowed the terms "cybotron" and "metroplex". Atkins began recording as Model 500 in 1985 and continues to produce his own and other musicians' records under the Metroplex Records label.
Since its origins, techno has evolved into a plethora of sub genres, known as "acid," "ambient" and "industrial." Another conference participant, Terrence Parker has established himself as a producer, remixer and DJ of the subgenre, house music, and is known as a pioneer of the inspirational/gospel house movement.
Also participating are DJs known collectively as "the 3 Chairs:" Marcellus "Malik" Pittman, Theo Parrish and Rick "the Godson" Wilhite. As production artists and selectors, they have helped to define an integral part of today's Detroit techno sound. Early in his music career, Wilhite worked closely with Atkins and May.
Jennifer Witcher, better known as DJ Minx and Detroit's "First Lady of Wax," will be able to speak from a woman's perspective about a genre dominated by male performers. A featured DJ for "Deep Space Radio" program, she was chief executive officer of the Skyloft Gallery in the early 1990s, where she helped to create a place for the scene's unexposed artists and musicians. In 1996, she formed Women on Wax, a collective of female DJs, and began working with promoters and others around the country. She She currently records for the Women on Wax label and is
planning a "Women on Wax" tour
With the band Underground Resistance, participant Cornelius "Atlantis" Harris was the first member of a Detroit-based band to play techno music live at major concerts. Other performers still may agree to participate in the conference.
"Roots of Techno: Black DJs and the Detroit Scene" will take place from 8:45 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Willkie Auditorium. Before Oct. 16, cost of registration is $5 for IU students and $15 for non-students. Afterwards, the cost will be $8 for IU students and $20 for everyone else. Admission to the live performances at Second Story will be $6 each night, with performances beginning at 10 p.m. each night.
The conference has been partially funded by the College Arts and Humanities Institute with co-sponsors: the IU Departments of African and African American Diaspora Studies, American Studies, Communication and Culture, Folklore and Ethnomusicology, School of Journalism, African American Arts Institute, Foster International Living-Learning Center, RPS Academic Initiatives and Services, Foster Quad Community Council, and Foster Quad Student Government. Additional support has been provided by the record labels Sound Signature and Unirhythm, and the record outlet Vibes New & Rare Music.
Important Registration Information!!!
Please note that this conference occurred in 2006. We are no longer accepting registration forms.
(Deadline: Monday, October 16, 2006)
Student: $5.00/person (with ID)
Non-student: $15.00/ person
After October 16, 2006, please plan on registering at the door.
Student: $8.00/person (with ID)
DJs will present performances on Fri. (Oct. 20) and Sat.(Oct. 21)evening at Second Story Night Club, located at 201 South College Avenue (corner of 4th and College), Bloomington, IN 47401. Details at http://www.secondstorynightclub.com/
Please not that the conference occurs during Homecoming weekend at Indiana State University in Terre Haute, so many hotels in Bloomington might have limited availability. If you are having trouble finding a place to stay, please contact us at