Late Detroit Musician Amp Fiddler Remembered at 2024 Movement Music Festival

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Nearly four dozen acts played on the first day of the annual Movement Music Festival in Detroit on Saturday (May 25), but one who wasn’t there was top of mind.

Tributes were paid throughout the day to Amp Fiddler, the electronic and funk luminary who passed away in December 2023 at the age of 65 from cancer.

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Fiddler’s credits as a performer, producer and writer included George Clinton, Prince, Fishbone, Maxwell, Corinne Bailey Rae, and others. He was an acknowledged influence on J Dilla and A Tribe Called Quest‘s Q-Tip and was working with a number of up-and-upcoming artists at the time of his death.

Saturday’s emotional and heartfelt tribute took place on Movement’s Pyramid Stage, where hometown hero Carl Craig and his Planet E Communications curated a daylong lineup with Britain’s Defected Records. It came at the end of a set by Dames Brown, a Detroit vocal House music trio — fittingly, since the group’s upcoming album “As I Am” was the last work Fiddler produced.

“Amp Fiddler is part of the magic of Detroit, he was a friend and a mentor and he touched the life of many,” Craig told Billboard. “I like to think of him in the great synthesizer heaven in the sky with Sun Ra, Junie Morrison and Bernie Worrell.”

“This performance was very special,” Dames Brown’s Teresa Marbury told Billboard after the trio’s set. “We want to send love and a vibrant spirit and celebrate this wonderful person we worked with. You could just feel the energy from [the crowd] and the love for him.”

Fellow Dames member LaRae Starr added that Fiddler “was more than a producer. He gave us books to read, music to listen to. He really wanted us to be knowledgeable about the music while we were making it. It was a very special experience.”

With photos of Fiddler on the video screen, Dames Brown’s set was filled with Fiddler material, including the single “Take Me As I Am” and a cover of D Train‘s disco hit “You’re the One for Me” that Fiddler remade for the trio, as well as “Do It,” a collaboration with fellow Detroit electronic pioneer Eddie Fowlkes that Dames Brown released through Defected last year.

Dames’ As I Am album is expected out later this year.

Fiddler was also featured as part of the “Respect the Architects” exhibit displayed in Movement’s Underground area, with a special multi-panel section dedicated to his life and career.

Movement’s other headliners on Saturday included Ludacris, Solomun, Loco Dice and Speedy J. The festival runs through Monday in Detroit’s Hart Plaza, with performances by Fatboy Slim, Richie Hawtin, James Blake and Goldie, who is celebrating the 30th anniversary of his Metalheadz label. The event also features a pairing of Kevin Saunderson and Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild award-winning actor Idris Elba.

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