Finest Kind - British, American, Irish, & Canadian traditional ballads keep company with gospel rousers, drinking songs, sea shanties, & pop oldies.
Ian Robb, Ann Downey and Shelley Posen discovered their collective sound almost by accident in 1991, when they happened to be sitting together at a song swap, and unsuspectingly launched into the chorus of a song together. The resulting blend of voices and harmony lines convinced them that they should start singing together, and they have since delighted concert and festival audiences across North America and the UK with that glorious sound.
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 award winning band, “The Friends of Fiddler's Green”, and composer of folk standards such as the pub anthem "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 and native of Toronto, is a versatile singer and multi instrumentalist who has spent a lifetime researching, teaching, writing about, performing, and sometimes composing songs.
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.
Ah yes, the name... Well, it's an east coast expression of approval: “How's the fishing today?” “Finest kind, b'y”. Translation: "Some good"; "fair dinkum"; "pretty cool"... it depends where you're from.
Or, as Canadian songwriter David Francey wrote after watching the trio at the Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Festival,
"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.”