Complaints Choir complains to full house
"Embrace your inner complainer!"
"It is so unfairrrrr", chants the Helsinki Complaints Choir for the climax of their concert at Kiasma, the Museum of Modern Art in the Finnish capital.
The choir's therapeutic repertoire incites the full house audience to demand an encore, and after the choir re-render a few verses everybody leaves feeling cheerful and revived.
The Complaints Choir's Finnish premiere was an all-around success. Some of the eager listeners never made it inside, as the crowd the performance had attracted exceeded Kiasma's capacity.
Inside, some 300 people crowded the lower lobby, and the upstairs balconies were packed full as well.
ARS 2006 artists Finnish Tellervo Kalleinen and her German husband Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen's idea was materialised. They succeeded in turning people's insatiable need for complaining into something positive and collective.
The artists, together with composer Esko Grundström, rustled up some 2,000 complaints from the public and reduced them into a series of 17 verses, complemented by two choral parts.
Eight of the choir's 96 youngish singers were men.
"In my opinion complaining comes naturally to men and to women alike. It feels good to moan a bit. It warms you from inside, and it is far from being a negative feeling. I have discovered my happy inner complainer", was the on-the-spot analysis of choir-member Sakari Oka.
"Complaining is not the same as nagging. It is interaction!"
The choir's subject matter covered nearly everything humanly possible.
"Can't really think of anything else", notes a group of students, a friend of whose is in the choir. "Except, perhaps, that financial aid to students should cover a longer period of time."
"The music was surprisingly good despite the fact the ability to sing was not a prerequisite for joining the choir. Fantastic complaints and wicked humour", comments Marjukka Nio, one of the listeners. Nio confesses she is such a good-natured and positive person that she hardly ever finds anything to moan about. "The holiday season will be at hand soon. It is springtime and the sun shines. Nature is perking up and the folks rediscover the art of smiling."
This sounds alarmingly like a crash in the complaints market. Perhaps it is a good thing that the Complaints Choir will next be forming in St. Petersburg.
Kiasma – the Premier of the Helsinki Complaints Choir
Complaints Choir of Birmingham
Kochta-Kalleinen: Complaints Choir