K-Hand, Detroit techno pioneer and founder of Acacia Records, has reportedly died

The techno pioneer was recognised as the “First Lady Of Detroit” for her contributions to electronic music


Photo: Mary Staggat via Tresor Berlin

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Kelli Hand, the Detroit techno and house pioneer better known as K-Hand, has reportedly died.

Hand’s death was confirmed by several of her close peers, who broke the news on social media yesterday (3 August), according to reports on Resident Advisor and MixMag. The cause of death has not been revealed.

Hand was an accomplished producer-DJ and the founder of Acacia Records, under which she released many of her own studio albums and EPs, along with music from producers such as the Wamdue Kids, Claude Young, Sean Deason and Hiroshi Morohashi.

In 2017, Hand was recognised for her contributions to electronic music when the city of Detroit bestowed on her the Testimonial Award, which officially recognised her as “The First Lady Of Detroit” for her contributions to techno and for her “skills in a male-dominated industry”.

K-Hand was the first woman to release house and techno at the start of the 90s, the first Detroit producer to release music on Warp Records (in 1994), and the first artist to release an album on Studio !K7 (in 1995). She’s also put out music on Berlin’s Ausfahrt and Tresor.

K-Hand’s musical interests began in her childhood with a passion for drums. Eventually, she studied music theory while attending university in New York and became acquainted with the city’s club scene. Larry Levan’s sets at the Paradise Garage were also a significant influence for her.

Up until her passing, K-Hand was still performing around the globe. She was scheduled to play Junction 2 in London at the end of the month.

Many have taken to social media to pay tribute to K-Hand, including Mike Servito, who wrote on Twitter: “Mad respect for Kelli Hand. We finally met in London of all places a few years ago. Those Acacia records; she was pioneering! You leave us with an inspirational Detroit music legacy. Thank you. Rest eternal, K-Hand”

See more tributes below:

#KHand was the 1st female House/Techno producer I ever heard of. she was sweet & spent lots of time in Satellite Records…

Posted by Tommie Sunshine on Tuesday, August 3, 2021


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