sing your complaints


The Helsinki Complaints Choir at the stairs of the Lutheran Cathedral in Helsinki.
Photo taken from the complaints choirs website

The first time I heard of complaints choirs was over three years ago and later blogged about how amusing they were to me.

A few days ago, I read on a Finnish culture blog about an article in The New York Times by Phyllis Korkki (the last name sounds Finnish): Turning Complaints Into Art. Here’s a snippet:

The idea started in Finland, where there is a word for people who complain simultaneously, valituskuoro, which translates as complaints choir. About six years ago Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen and his wife, Tellervo Kalleinen, both visual artists living in Helsinki, began discussing the possibility of turning this metaphorical concept into something quite literal. People spend so much energy complaining, they reasoned, so why not harness all that energy into something positive?

In 2005, with help from arts-related organizations in England and Finland, the two organized their first complaints choir, in Birmingham, England.

The Tokyo choir, which performed last month, is the eighth that the couple have worked with. But others have formed choirs in other cities, and, Mr. Kochta-Kalleinen said, more than 60 performances have occurred worldwide — from Melbourne to Singapore to Philadelphia to Florence.

This is all a surprise to me! The interview of the Finnish artists who started it all was interesting and I enjoyed hearing that Finnish accent!. There’s even a website for complaints choirs worldwide along with videos of their performances that I’m slowly going through, looking and listening and smiling! I hope you will too.

December 11, 2009 in Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric, Music, Neat stuff, Other artists by Marja-Leena