Finest Kind at tynefolk

Finest Kind


Finest Kind was born in Ottawa, Canada, in 1991 by Ian Robb, Ann Downey, and Shelley Posen.

Finest Kind

Ian, originally from London, England, is renowned as one of North America's most gifted performers of British folksong, a concertina player extraordinaire. Ann, who hails from the south western 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.

Almost two years since their last visit to tynefolk and encouraged by a large audience, Finest Kind took to the stage, along with guest fiddler and mandolinist James Stephens and didn't disappoint.

The tight harmonies which personify Finest Kind were in evidence from the start and continued throughout the evening.

The group opened the first spot with "Bay of Biscay," a song which Ian learned some 35 years ago and with its roots in County Donegal.

Finest Kind

They then proceeded to give us an eclectic mix of material commencing with Newfoundland fishing songs, Squid Jigging Ground and The Lass that loved a Sailor; a couple of shanties, Bully in the Alley and Dover to Calais, a 1988 shanty about the cross Channel Hovercraft; and political protest songs in the form of Song of the Lower Classes and The Riley Boys.

The highlight of the evening however was reserved until the second half when the group performed John Barleycorn Deconstructed, a no holds barred account of how Finest Kind's harmonies and arrangements are finalised.

It was a great night and the chance to catch up with old friends was plainly evident by the various groups in animated conversations at the end of the evening.

Finest Kind's playlist was:

Bay of BiscayBlue Mountain
Fond AppreciationTenting on the Old Campground
One Lonely DayShe thinks I still care
In Praise of AlcoholJohn Barleycorn Deconstructed
Faded Roses of DecemberThe Pilgrim's Way
Song of the Lower ClasseApril Morning
Squid Jigging Ground 
Lass that loved a Sailor 
The Riley Boys 
Hovercraft Shanty/ Bully in the Alley