'The first lady of Detroit' house and techno, Kelli 'K-HAND' Hand, dies age 56

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    Wed, 4 Aug 2021, 04:50
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  • The dance music community is memorializing the Acacia Records head's massive contribution.
  • 'The first lady of Detroit' house and techno, Kelli 'K-HAND' Hand, dies age 56 image
  • K-HAND, the legendary Detroit DJ and producer, has died at age 56. News of Kelli Hand's passing broke on social media on Tuesday night, with several dance music figures stating that individuals close to the Detroit artist confirmed her death. The Guardian later confirmed news of Hand's passing with her agent. The cause of death is currently unknown. In 2017, K-HAND was recognized as the "First Lady Of Detroit" by Detroit City council, an award marking a career that spanned from the founding of her label, Acacia Records, in 1990, right up to the time of her death. (In July 2021, she played in New York, Las Vegas and her hometown, Detroit.) K-HAND'S remarkable career spanned from her initiation into dance music as a regular at the Paradise Garage. She went on to brush shoulders with legendary DJs like Frankie Knuckles, Ron Hardy and Ken Collier, who gave her a residency at Detroit's Club Zippers. Her first record, Think About It, was produced with the help of Jeff Mills, Mike Banks, Mike Clarke and Rob Hood, she told Matt Unicomb in a 2016 interview on RA. She later release her debut full-length, On A Journey on !K7 Records, also appearing on influential labels like Warp and Tresor over the years. A K-HAND track features on Tresor's upcoming 30-year box set. Her own imprint, Acacia Records, served as home base for tracks that are still on heavy club rotation. In recent years, she reissued valuable Acacia EPs like 1997's Project 5 12-inch and uploaded many of her records onto Bandcamp, including a series of three Acacia Classics compilations. Listen to the 2019 RA Exchange podcast with K-HAND. Fellow artists, DJs and labels mourned K-HAND's passing.