Wednesday, June 18, 2008


I am sorry for the lengthy silence. This new schedule with a full time job and kids is hectic and I have been taking some time to adjust before I get my research schedule back up to speed. So I don’t really have much news to report about the wonderful world of techno and house in Detroit. Although, Detroit radio is definitely a highlight of my morning and afternoon drives to and from work. The other day, on the way home, I was listening to WJLB 97.9 and DJ Fingers is on at 5PM for the drive home. He played Inner City “Good Life”!!! I’m not sure where else in this country, and maybe even in the world where you could hear on a mainstream corporate radio station, a local DJ playing something so significant to Detroit’s musical history. It definitely was a hit in its day in the late 1980s, but those kind of tracks don’t often make it onto radio stations anymore, unless it’s a college or independent radio station.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Radio, Obama, and Hockey

Something nice about having a full time job, aside from actually being able to support my family, is that I get to listen to the radio in the morning on the way to work, and on the way home in the evening. Sometimes I pop in a CD, like yesterday, I was listening to a couple of mix CDs from K-Hand, which were excellent by the way. And I heard DJ WhoDat’s voice chime in and realized that K-Hand’s mix was done live on WhoDat’s radio show Turning Point on Wednesday evenings. But, I also listen to WDET 101.9FM, Detroit’s public radio station, Mix 92.3FM, a soul and r&b station, WJLB 97.9FM, another soul, r&b, and hip hop station, and, when I can get it in, CJAM 91.5, college radio from the University of Windsor, just across the river. For the past two days, on WDET, 92.3, and WJLB, there has been a lot of excitement about Barak Obama becoming the Democratic Presidential nominee. This excitement is of course because of his political views and perspectives, and because he is an African American. History and pride are two things that are repeatedly invoked during these on-air discussions about politics, race, Detroit, African Americans, and Civil Rights. I’m really excited to be living here at this moment in US history! Children and their parents, religious leaders, political figures, all kinds of people are calling in to radio stations to talk on the air about their support of Obama. There is just so much excitement and pride coming from so many different types of people and organizations and rallying around hope for Obama to become the next President of the United States!

Another, maybe less profound, but just as interesting story that I have been hearing on the radio yesterday and today is about hockey. And yes, hockey on Black radio! This is Detroit, it’s cold here for a lot of the year, and hockey is not just for white people here. Two days ago, the Detroit Red Wings won the Stanley Cup championships. There was a huge parade downtown near Hart Plaza this morning for the Red Wings. I didn't go...because I was working, remember?! But they carried the giant cup and other trophies on top of pickup trucks down Woodward from Hockeytown to Hart Plaza. Hockeytown is a restaurant on Woodward next to the Fox Theater and across the way from the Tigers' baseball stadium (Comerica Park) and the Lions football stadium (Ford Field). Hockeytown is also a nickname for Detroit.

There are so many interesting things happening here in Detroit right now and I'm so glad to be here this year. Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is going through a huge amount of controversy with misuse of city money and an affair which he documented thoroughly through text messaging on cell phones. There is a huge amount of construction going on on just about all the major freeways here. That's been a drag, but it has given me more of an opportunity to explore Detroit using other streets. It has been great to explore different parts of the city when I go for interviews or go to different clubs and parties.

Looking forward to a weekend at home and heading down to the Detroit Festival of the Arts!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Movement - Part 5, Finally! - Until Next Year...

Sorry for the absence. I now have a full time job outside of the home, whereas before this week, I was a full time, stay at home Mom. There are so many ways that I am diverging from the traditional path of a fieldworker, and now having a full time job is yet another. But, I must remember that the traditional fieldwork story that some of us hold in our minds is probably not that typical as ethnographic disciplines, like ethnomusicology, anthropology, and folklore, continue to change over time. Working in Detroit is just one more way that I can learn about Detroit and experience life immersed in this city.

I will try to finish up my notes about the festival tonight in this post. By far, the star of the day was Soundmurderer, Todd Osborne. I had never heard him play before, he was excellent. He was playing at the Red Bull stage, the sound was great over there by the Detroit river at the back corner of Hart Plaza. I have been hearing about him for a while, and saw him talk on the panel at Submerge for the Red Bull Music Academy event about a month or so ago. He, along with Brian Gillespie do the monthly Family event at Oslo. There were a couple of excellent dancers with a square of linoleum taped down to the concrete for jit competitions. It was such an interesting crowd over there - lots of dancers, way more ethnic diversity than at any of the other stages that day. Along with Nick Speed Collection and Buzz Goree, Soundmurderer played music that sounded so new and different to me, but still along the lines of other forms of electronic dance music.

I think I am too tired to write this post properly. The rest of Monday was pretty exhausting and a bit boring - by that point in the weekend, many of the sounds were just blending together way too much for my little ears.

Didn't go out Monday night, we just went home to watch basketball and drink a beer.