Keith and Renee make Detours to Kenya

By Sydney Stokoe

It doesn’t matter where people start, paths change and often lead to in interesting places.

Winnipeg-based pop-rock duo Keith and Renee know all about it. With their fourth album, Detours, released April 16 on Easily Amused Music, the pair have proved that changing paths is what life is all about. Having moved away from the usual bar-based performances, they chose to instead work with Free the Children in what’s proved to be a successful deviation from their status quo.

“At first, when Free the Children asked us to be a part of this, we weren’t completely sure, coming from the world of playing in clubs and just being a band we weren’t sure how it would work out playing in high schools or elementary schools,” admits Renee Lamoureux.

The change, however, has proved successful and having worked alongside Free the Children for two years and with plans to continue, they’ve turned their attention to music as a medium for developing a global community.

“Our music has always had a really positive vibe to it and message in it so I think really what’s been happening is we’ve just really been aligning with the right demographics and markets for our music,” says Keith Macpherson. “It’s really cool how everything kind of came together synchronistically without us trying to force it.”

It’s a long journey from Winnipeg to Kenya, but the experiences gained not only from working in Africa but also spreading the word about Free the Children through schools back home in Canada has been invaluable to the duo.

“I just find it’s amazing because I think back to when I was that age and I don’t remember being like that, or having those opportunities and hearing about problems in other countries. I think there are a lot of opportunities for young people in this generation,” says Lamoureux.

Travelling to Africa and interacting with the people there not only opened doors in terms of charity, but also to experience another culture’s attitudes towards music — an eye opening experience.

“It’s like there are no egos out there, no one was holding back, they were all singing and they want to be a part of it and it’s very community based and everyone was supporting each other,” says Lamoureux. “Here we think about the dangers of Africa and what we see going on, but not once did we feel that way being down there. I mean, we instantly fell in love with the people and they kind of adopt you right away.”

Spending time in other cultures has helped the duo grow not only as musicians, but as people in general, Macpherson commented on the reverse culture shock he felt returning to North America.

“We really get attached to what we do for a living and we get attached to what we own,” he says. “We end up defining ourselves by our jobs or our career or how much money we have in the bank and there in Africa it seemed like it was more about just being in the moment.”

The pair play the Ironwood Stage and Grill April 16 for the release of Detours. No matter where their music takes them, Keith and Renee are ready for adventure. After all, the things that make people’s lives great are the things we don’t expect.

“Our musical career has taken us on such a journey, on so many different paths, and they’ve all been amazing but you have no idea where they’re going to end up,” says Lamoureux. “We’ve got a goal and dream of where we want our music to take us, but we have a lot of detours getting there, but along the way we are here and it has been amazing so far.”

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