April 28, 2008
...means "Complaints Choir" in Finnish. It describes a situation where many people are complaining at one time.
Choirs and singing are very important in Finland - and in my life. My Finnish grandparents met when my grandfather saw my grandmother singing in a choir.
While browsing through the internet this evening, I ran across Finnish Choral Complaining. The Chawed Rosin has a good introduction to this video:
Here’s another clever Finnish invention: complaints choirs. Anyone who wants to can join the choir and submit complaints. Then the gripes are set to music and performed for fellow citizens and videotaped to post on the internet.
PRI's The World has an article on Complaints Choirs Worldwide:
Tellervo Kalleinen is a Finnish video artist who lives in Helsinki. Some time ago, she and her German-born husband Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen were talking about the nature of complaints how everyone makes them and no one likes to hear them.
“And I spontaneously got excited and I said to Oliver, you know in Finnish vocabulary we have a word "vvalituskuoro" which literally means complaints choir, and you use this in the situations where you feel everybody's just complaining. And you might say "you are all like one big complaints choir." And so very quickly we got this idea that hey we should actually take this word very literally and make complaints choir.”
Kalleinen and her husband had been offered a residency at an arts institute in Birmingham, England, and it was there that the first complaints choir was born. The artists placed ads in local papers inviting people to send in their complaints.
The choir was formed by some of the people who responded to the ads. The gripes - like the quality of the singing voices -- varied wildly, from shoddy town planning to too expensive beer. The experience convinced Kalleinen that she'd tapped into a deep-seated and universal need to complain - and to do it collectively. Next, she targeted Helsinki.
You can't get rich by working…and love doesn't last forever. Those are the opening shots of a 6-minute ode to kvetching. Helsinki eclipsed Birmingham by the sheer magnitude of its complaints.
“We had thought that the maximum number of complaints we can just handle in a workshop is like 40 or something/Then we just started to get in more and more people and finally we had 90 people, and of course it was our principle not to say no for anybody, so what could we do other than try to find a bigger rehearsal space than we had thought about.”...
[Hat tip to lines of flight]