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K-Hand, House & Techno Pioneer, "First Lady Of Detroit," Dead At 56

The cause of death isn't known at this time.


Detroit techno and house legend K-Hand, real name Kelli Hand, has died. The cause of death is still unknown, but news has been circulating since late Tuesday night. The death has been confirmed by her agent to The Guardian and her close friends.

She was named the “first lady of Detroit” by the city council in 2017 for her contributions to dance music and dance music culture, notably as a black woman in the scene.

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Born and raised in Detroit, her formative years were spent going to seminal clubs like New York’s Paradise Garage and Chicago’s Music Box, where she got the itch to join the business. She began DJing in the late 1980’s, earning local residencies in Detroit.

In 1990 she founded the label UK House Records, later renamed Acacia Records, where she released her debut EP Think About It. She would go on to release seven albums over her career, starting with her first in 1995 and DJed up until last month. She would also release music on labels like Warp, !K7 and Tresor, including a song that will be on their upcoming 30-year box set.

She is being mourned by those who knew her and were influenced by her. 

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