Finest Kind

Ian Robb, Ann Downey, and Shelley Posen

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.

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. Both Shelley and Ian are columnists for Sing Out! magazine. 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.

Community Sing Song Leaders
Friday Feb. 4, 8 p.m

Saturday, Feb 5, 8 pm

Pub Sing
Saturday, Feb 5, 11 pm with Shelley Posen


The Singing Tradition of the Copper Family
with Finest Kind and Bob Blackman /
11 am to noon

For over 200 years, one family in a small English farming village has passed down an extraordinary group of traditional folksongs. The Copper Family of Rottingdean, Sussex, has been singing for at least seven consecutive generations. Their songs, and their unique a cappella harmony style, have influenced many other folksingers throughout England and America. At this workshop, the Canadian trio Finest Kind will perform some of their favorite songs from the Coppers' repertoire. WKAR Radio's Bob Blackman (who wrote a comprehensive article about the family for Sing Out! magazine in 2001) will talk about the Coppers and play a few of their recordings.

Harmony Singing / 12:20 - 1:20 pm
Join Canada's favorite folk music trio and weave your way through fabulous
harmony lines of popular songs.

We Make Singers Bold: Yorkshire Pub Caroling with Shelley Posen / 1:40 - 2:40
For over a century, villagers in Yorkshire, England, have gathered at Christmas in the cheery warmth of local pubs to sing magnificent, old, four part harmony carols—mostly Victorian-era treasures heard no longer in mainstream churches, seldom in mass media, never in elevators or shopping malls! Singing these carols is now also a cherished local Christmas tradition in a neighborhood pub in Ottawa, Canada, thanks to Finest Kind’s Shelley Posen. Join him at the festival as he teaches some of these highly singable, unclichéed hymns of yuletide cheer. You just might want to start a pub caroling tradition of your own next Christmas. Music provided.


Ten Pound Fiddle Concert Series
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