November 20, 2007

Harmonious Complaining

Apologies to those of you who have seen this, but I just read about the growing number of Complaints Choirs worldwide, which are just what they sound like, choirs which sing a litany of complaints set to music. The genesis of the idea came from two Helsinki artists who were inspired by the Finnish expression “Valituskuoro,” which translates as “Complaints Choir,” but actually refers to the phenomenon of a bunch of people complaining about something at the same time. Taking this expression literally, under these artists’ influence, the first Complaints Choir was formed in Birmingham (UK, not USA). Since then, groups have sprung up all over the world, including in Helsinki.

I think this is a fabulous idea, and I would love to join one of these choirs. Seeing as it’s nearly Thanksgiving (in the US), this may seem an odd time to promote complaining—this holiday is supposed to be about being thankful after all–but somehow singing about our common daily annoyances (which might seem particularly acute to expats) shows just how petty most of these complaints are, while still acknowledging them in a light-hearted way. To see what I mean, take a look at the video below of the Helsinki Complaints Choir in action (don’t worry if you don’t speak Finnish, there are subtitles).

2 Responses to “Harmonious Complaining”

  1. serena said:

    dear madame, thanks for the lines and the video, I really enjoied! i will let some other persons know…not just for globalization but i could complain the same even if here there is more light than Finland! And I also will show to my son -8 years old- that sings in a choir and has already more than a couple of things to complain…still one thing: thanks also to your husbund. I liked the way he wrote about a trip (I could find a comment he wrote while I was searching “pan de l’indio”), and through his web-site I arrived here! I wish you a new year with peace. serena

  2. Morgen Jahnke said:


    Glad you enjoyed the video clip and Joe’s article. Thanks for your feedback!