Aengus Finnan

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Aengus Finnan
Born Dublin, Ireland
Origin Ontario, Canada
Genres Folk
Years active 1999–present
Associated acts Serena Ryder

Aengus Finnan (born January 31, 1972 in Dublin, Ireland) is a Canadian folk musician, who grew up in Ontario, Canada. In 2003, he was awarded the Queen's Golden Jubilee Commemorative Medal for his humanitarian and cultural work in Canada [1]

Early life[edit]

Finnan grew up on an organic farm in Shelter Valley, Ontario (near Grafton). He attended St. Mary's elementary school in Grafton, St. Mary's Secondary School in Cobourg, and was awarded a two year scholarship to Lester B. Pearson United World College near Victoria, B.C. where he studied Fine Art (IB), before attending Concordia University in Montreal to study Theatre (BFA). He later attended Nipissing University in North Bay, Ontario to study Native and Northern Education, graduating as Valedictorian for the 1994 Faculty of Education.

He taught elementary school in Moosonee, Ontario for two years,[2] and in Inuvik, NWT.

Music career[edit]

He released two albums, Fool's Gold, produced by Paul Mills in 1999, and North Wind, which Finnan co-produced with Paul Mills in 2002, featuring his touring band-mates Trevor Mills and David Rogers along with backing vocals by Serena Ryder. For 6 years he toured the North America folk festival and club circuit with invitational performances at the Kennedy Centre in Washington DC, the Yukon International Storytelling Festival in Whitehorse, the Stan Rogers Festival in Nova Scotia, and international dates in Australia and Japan.

His song "Lately" was awarded the Songs From The Heart award, while O'Shaunessey's lament (later recorded by Irish-American artist Seamus Kennedy) was also awarded the prestigious New Folk Songwriting award at the Kerrville Folk Festival in Texas.

Finnan was featured on Beautiful, the first ever tribute album to Canadian singer Gordon Lightfoot. He has also appeared as a guest musician on albums by Joy Norman, Michael Glover and Jed Marum, and has performed live with Serena Ryder, Stephen Fearing, Garnet Rogers, Rose Cousins, Lynn Miles, Valdy and John Renbourn. In 2003 he produced a compilation album entitled Valley Voices as a fundraising effort for a group of concerned citizens, and in 2005 he co-produced Coastline of our Dreams, an Ian Tamblyn tribute album.

In the winter of 2003 he traveled to the Yukon to record a collection of Robert Service poetry as field recordings (as yet unreleased) in the locations of the subject matter of the poems, including The Shooting of Dan Mcgrew, and The Cremation of Sam McGee. In 2004 he recorded a live album at the Grafton Town Hall called Once Upon a Time, which was released in 2013.

Art career, organizing[edit]

In 2002 he conceived of a tribute event called The Way We Feel as an annual event to celebrate the work of Canadian icon Gordon Lightfoot.[1]

In 2003 he returned to Grafton Ontario to found the Shelter Valley Folk Festival, for which he was the volunteer artistic and executive director till 2010.[1][3] During that time he served as the board President of the Ontario Council of Folk Festivals.[1]

In 2005 he bought the Lawless and Sons general store (circa 1835) in Grafton and transformed it from an active butcher shop into the Lawless Gallery of Fine Art, where he was curator for 3 years. The gallery doubled as a performance venue for acoustic concerts.

In 2008 he began instructing a Self-employment course for the Northumberland Community Futures agency, and later served as their Program Manager. In May 2010 he was hired as the Touring and Audience Development Officer for the Ontario Arts Council.[1]

In 2003, he was awarded the Queen's Golden Jubilee Commemorative Medal for his humanitarian and cultural work in Canada.[1][4]

Personal life[edit]

He currently lives in Toronto, Ontario, and is engaged to Dayna Manning.


Solo albums[edit]

Studio and live albums by Aengus Finnan
Year Album title Release details
1999 Fool's Gold
  • Released: 1999
  • Label: Shelter Valley
  • Format: CD, digital
2002 North Wind
2013 Once Upon a Time: Live in Grafton
  • Released: Jan 1, 2013
  • Label: Centre Stage
  • Format: CD


Singles by Aengus Finnan
Year Song Album Notes
1999 "Lately" Fool's Gold
2002 "Rolling Home" North Wind
"O’Shaughnessy’s Lament"
"My Heart Has Wings" ft. Serena Ryder Flashpoint season opener



  1. ^ a b c d e f "Aengus Finnan appointed Touring and Audience Development Officer at the Ontario Arts Council". Ontario Arts Council. April 23, 2010. Retrieved 7 January 2012. 
  2. ^ Reid, Robert (March 9, 2000). "Life beyond Moosonee; Folk singer Aengus Finnan drops teaching to follow musical dreams". Kitchener Record. Retrieved 7 January 2012. 
  3. ^ "Shelter Valley Folk Festival presenting fourth Songwriters Showcase". Trenton Trentonian. ]. Retrieved 7 January 2012.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  4. ^ "Canadian songwriter Aengus Finnan received Canada's prestigious Commemorative Medal in honor of The Golden Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.". Sing Out. 22 March 2003. Retrieved 7 January 2012. 

External links[edit]