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Discover the History of Michigan’s Music

Known as the birthplace of Motown, many influential musical and cultural scenes over the years have called the “Great Lake State” home. From the vivacious urban cities to the vast and serene landscapes, artistic inspiration for musicians never fails to be found. 

The musical spirit of Michigan is also heard at Delamar Traverse City, where local performers showcase original sets weekly. And if you’re curious about the early roots, the Music House Museum is just a 15 minute drive from Delamar and home to a collection of restored musical antiques, early radios, & recordings. Boasting a soundtrack of artists who might frequently show up on your playlists, the pulse of Michigan can be felt in the rhythm of each song:

Motown

Discover the History of Michigan’s Music

The Motown Museum in Detroit.

Founded in a former automobile factory in 1959 by Detroit native, Berry Gordy, Motown would go on to be one of the most influential music genres of the twentieth century and beyond. The infamous record company, Motown Records, would develop what became known as the “Motown Sound,” bringing together a variety of talent that blended popular genres such as jazz and rock with rhythm and blues. The list of artists that emerged from Motown includes The Temptations, Jackson Five, Diana Ross and the Supremes, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, and many more who produced infectious melodies that changed American popular music forever. 

Visit the Motown Museum in Detroit and experience the place where some of the most iconic albums were recorded. While the museum is under renovations until the spring of 2022, it’s absolutely worth keeping on your radar.

Punk 

Michigan’s urban cities have long been the home to venues where artists looking to find like-minded communities come together to make magic happen. Back in the late 1970s, restless musicians from across the state flocked to local clubs in Detroit and Ann Arbor to find creativity in the rumbling sounds of an electric guitar and the vivacious spirit of youthful rebellion. The genre was nurtured by smaller institutions that fostered new ideas and freedom of expression inspiring the likes of rock giants such as Iggy Pop that would go on to spread the exciting music worldwide. 

For an authentic punk experience, what better way than to visit a local Traverse City record store? Visit RPM Records or Eugene’s Record Co-op to flip through some classic tunes, find sought after equipment, and build your record collection. 

Techno 

Inspired by the futuristic sounds coming from across the pond in Europe, techno music found roots in the “Great Lake State” in the early 1980s. Combining disco beats with other Michigan born music styles such as Rhythm and Blues, pioneer artists such as Derrick May and Juan Atkins created an explosive genre of it’s own right. Utilizing new technology, such as the whirring synthesizer that allowed musicians to experiment with a variety of sounds that quickly flooded dancefloors and mixtapes across the country. 

Now home to one of the largest Techno music festivals, the Movement Electronic Music Festival, the impact of Michigan’s techno-scene can be felt in the pulse of the state. To learn more about the history of techno, visit Exhibit 3000 where you’ll discover the music, equipment, and art that defined this futuristic sound. 

Tour Michigan’s Musical History 

The colorful history of Michigan’s music scenes are rife with extraordinary talent and importance. Artists and musicians who had their musical beginnings in the “Great Lake State” have shaped the most popular genres still relevant today. 

Experience Traverse City’s music history in the making by visiting Delamar’s Traverse City and Artisan where you will enjoy live performances by local musicians from Thursday through Sunday weekly this season!

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