Complaints Choir: Complaints Choir (Smog Veil) 

Here's a model for making high art from Tucsonans' endless complaints about Rio Nuevo, the education crisis, the departure of spring training and the presence Russell Pearce, not to mention dead car batteries, bike lanes (or not) and the general run of missing socks, condo associations, bad kissing and the inability to play mix tapes anymore: Start a Complaints Choir, and if we can't sing our troubles away, we can at least share them with a sense of humor.

Married Finnish artists Tellervo Kalleinen and Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen have inspired nearly 100 choirs in more than 20 countries. Since they launched the Complaints Choir project in 2004, the choirs have registered more than a million views on YouTube. The pair's vision is that singing in community about commonly held complaints might make the load lighter for us all. There's academic infrastructure, of course, and a method, but why look behind the curtain when what's out front is such fun?

The Complaints Choir documentary DVD traces the formation of choirs in Chicago and Singapore. Both benefit from anchors in classical musicianship and choral disciplines. The audio discs, though, also document strictly amateur groups whose music is as diverse as their cultures. One suspects that, in any language, many complaints are pretty much the same.

From the merest slights to the deepest wounds (e.g., "No one ever throws me the ball," and, "Pants are never my size"), the Complaints Choirs make merry music of them.

More by Linda Ray


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