On Thursday, Afropop Worldwide aired "Midwest Electric: The Story of Chicago House and Detroit Techno," an hour-long audio documentary of the history of house music in Chicago, its roots in New York disco, the rise of techno music in neighboring Detroit and what's just beginning in South Africa.
The producers describe it this way: "Through dozens of interviews with seminal house and techno producers — including Paul Johnson, Vince Lawrence, Juan Atkins and Carl Craig — as well as scholars, radio DJs and party promoters, we'll find out how two chilly mid-western cities taught the world to dance."
In the course of reporting for Afropop Worldwide, producers Wills Glasspiegel and Marlon Bishop did some work for NPR, too. They interviewed some of Detroit's most influential purveyors of techno, asking for their favorite early techno songs. Glasspiegel also profiled the Detroit techno scene in May for All Things Considered.
Over the course of the summer, we at NPR Music will be profiling electronic music communities around the world and asking the people involved to tell us about the most important songs to come out of their scenes. Stay tuned for much, much more.