Willson & McKee PR harp etc

When the Spanish Peaks International Celtic Music Festival comes to Huerfano County September 27-30 not all the performers will be visiting guests with foreign accents. Locals will be familiar with Walsenburg residents Kim McKee and Ken Willson who make up the professional touring duo of Willson and McKee. Kim, a Colorado native, and husband Ken, will perform, teach, and host at this year’s event. Pat McCullough, Fest AD, enthusiastically said, “One of our goals for Spanish Peaks fest is to include some of our fine regional talent along with the imported talent from around the world. The fact that we have Wilson & McKee living right here in Huerfano County ready, willing, and able to help, is an embarrassment of riches!’

To say Willson & McKee are workhorses in the traditional arts scene is an understatement. They have been touring for over 20 years, recorded 9 albums,
and have reached out to many underserved schools and educational programs in 10 States. Last year alone they spent 325 days on the road, reaching over 15,000 students. Over the years they have also produced concert series, festivals, workshops, and arts conferences.
“We are simply passionate about what we do,” said Kim (Winner of the National Mountain Dulcimer Championship in 2002, and four time award winner at the Milwaukee Irish Festival songwriting contest). “We’ve traveled to Ireland and Scotland to study with traditional players and storytellers, then bring it home and make it our own. With that said, you’ll not hear a fake accent or a butchered Gaelic word from us, ever! We are ‘western Americans’ doing our own work.” Showing respect to the traditional players she added, “We look up to the brilliant performers, and the ‘natives’ of the culture, but we also give it honor by integrating all the folklore we bring back into our original work.”
Willson & McKee describe themselves as “Two Voices with guitars, bouzouki, harp, accordion, dulcimers, stories, dances and FUN!” They will perform a number of times throughout the fest. The rest of the time they will check out workshops (Kim has scheduled some time at the Harp Retreat) and meet up with friends. And if help is needed they’ll come running, said Kim, “We do love this festival and are totally committed!”

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