Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Complaint Choirs: Who Says you Can't Complain in an Upbeat Manner?

In a recent jaunt through YouTube, I came across the Tokyo Complaint Choir:

Tokyo complaint choir

And from there to so many more:

Birmingham, England

Helsinki, Finland

Hamburg, Germany

St. Petersburg, Russia

Budapest, Hungary

Chicago, USA


Hong Kong

Florence, Italy

Turns out that this is really an organized thing, complete with a website and a Wikipedia entry:
Complaints Choir is a community art project that invites people to sing about their complaints in a choir together with fellow complainers. The first Complaints Choir was organized in Birmingham (UK) in 2005, followed by the Complaints Choirs of Helsinki, Hamburg and St. Petersburg in 2006. The project was initiated by artists Tellervo Kalleinen and Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen. A video installation consisting of the documentation of the public performances of the four choirs were shown at Kiasma (Helsinki, Finland), S.M.A.K. (Ghent, Belgium) and Museum Fridericianium Kassel (Germany) among other venues. When the video clips of the choirs were distributed through online magazines and video sharing websites, the idea spread quickly to many other countries. To date additional Complaints Choirs have been organized in Bodø (Norway), Poikkilaakso primary school (Helsinki, Finland), Budapest (Hungary), Chicago (Illinois, United States), Juneau (Alaska), Gabriola Island (Canada), Melbourne (Australia), Jerusalem (Israel), Singapore, Breslau (Poland), Hong Kong, Philadelphia, Enschede in The Netherlands (as part of its international Grenswerk art festival) in the Netherlands and Tokyo (Japan).
I guess the shitty world economy has exacerbated the desire to kvetch, but to do it in style. After all, anyone can bellyache, squawk, and whine all they want. However, melodious complaining makes it all the more fun to actually listen to.

A YouTube search for "Complaint Choir" also pulls up a lot of other places. Interestingly, I don't find any complaint choir entries for France, or in Latin America. Hrm. Maybe I'm just not looking hard enough.

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