News: Due to an illness to Finest Kind member Shelley Posen, the trio has had to cancel all remaining engagements in 2014. Shelley is being treated for an infection that has affected his heart, and all signs are that he will be recovered and ready to travel and sing again in early 2015. We are sorry to be missing our tours in the UK and US, and we apologize for any inconvenience or disappointment. Ann Downey, Ian Robb and frequent FK collaborator James Stephens will be appearing at the CFMA gala Nov 29th in Ottawa, as scheduled.
Click on the play button to hear some samples of Finest Kind's most recent CD, "For Honour & for Gain" More details on the recordings page.
...Finest Kind's set on the Saturday night was a
flawless piece of work, an extraordinary melding of history and
song. Three of the finest voices in Canada singing about our past
and filling the dark and still air with soaring, glorious harmonies.
In a set of splendid songs, Shelley Posen's "No More Fish, No
Fishermen" was, for me, the standout. I have a recording of the song
but to hear it sung from that stage, to that crowd, was to
understand the passion behind the piece. A very remarkable band...
David Francey, at the Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Festival 2002
Finest Kind is the remarkable folk trio from Ottawa, Canada whose exquisite harmony singing and brilliant vocal arrangements are bringing a fresh sense of excitement and discovery to the performance of old songs. The trio's glorious sound, served up with easy-going humour, has won a devoted following across North America.
Thrills and Chills...Finest Kind's vocal arrangements are a creative tour de force. Tradition-based yet curiously modern, the trio's harmonies are an enchanting feast of opulent chords and ever changing textures. The trio's amazing vocal blend has been called "molecular bonding" by one reviewer: "Any closer," he says, "and they wouldn't be allowed to do it in public." Audiences invariably mention "goosebumps."
Who we are...Finest Kind was formed in Ottawa, Canada, in 1991 by Ian Robb, Ann Downey, and Shelley Posen. Ian, originally from London, England, is renowned as one of North America's most gifted performers of British folksong, a concertina player extraordinaire, charter member of Toronto's Friends of Fiddler's Green, and composer of folk standards such as "The Old Rose and Crown." Ann, who hails from the southwestern U.S., plays guitar, banjo, and bass, and has performed in bands playing old-time and cowboy music, bluegrass, klezmer, jazz, and swing in North America and Europe. Shelley, a professional folklorist from Toronto, is a versatile singer and multi instrumentalist who has spent a lifetime researching, teaching, writing about, performing, and sometimes composing songs. The trio is often joined on stage by fiddler and mandolinist James Stephens, a master of styles ranging from Irish to Cape Breton, bluegrass to swing.
Surprises...The variety of these individual musical backgrounds makes for one of the distinctions of a Finest Kind performance -- the exhilarating mix of repertoire. British, American, Irish, and Canadian traditional ballads keep company with gospel rousers, drinking songs, sea shanties, and pop oldies. The timeless works of the Carter Family, the Copper Family, Rudyard Kipling, and Hank Williams mingle with originals by Ian or Shelley. Unencumbered by allegiances to any one style, Finest Kind presents the hand-picked best of many genres, and keeps audiences wondering just what delight they'll hear next.
Recordings...Finest Kind has recorded five CDs--Lost in a Song (1996), Heart's Delight (1999), Silks & Spices (2003), For Honour & for Gain (2010) and a Christmas album with actor John D. Huston, Feasts & Spirits (2004). The trio is featured on Ian Robb's "From Different Angels" (1994) and also appears on his "Jiig" (2005). All are available from Fallen Angle Music. Shelley also has four solo releases, "The Old Songs' Home", "Manna", "Menora" and "Roseberry Road", available from www.shelleyposen.com