Pass the headache pills: Finland’s Screaming Men’s Choir turns yelling into song

Jordana Divon
Contributing Writer
Daily Buzz

Forget expensive therapy. People looking for a release to their internal anger just need to pack up their worldly belongings, head to Scandinavia and join the Finland Screaming Men’s Choir.

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Of course, there are a few conditions. For starters, you need to be a man. A predilection for shouting, coupled with a healthy lung capacity, should probably figure among your next considerations. A working knowledge of Finnish can’t hurt either, and if you want to get front and centre during performances, like the guy at the 1:59 mark in the YouTube video, it helps to have a spectacular beard not seen in such glorious fashion since the last Idomo commercial aired in Canada.

But while the novelty factor looms loud, there’s a far more interesting background to the Oulo, Finland-based group.

Founder and director Petri Sirvio, a character in his own right, leads the 30-man group in anywhere between five and eight tours per year.

For the past two decades, he has conducted the choir as they shout everything from a unique version of the national anthem to nursery rhymes and their own compositions. [Note: if you want to get your toddler to sleep, the Finland Screaming Men’s Choir version of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star may not be your best option.]

There’s a bit of social rebellion going on, too, in a country where “quiet” is considered a person’s optimal default volume. Or as Sirvio explains: “Here, physical presence is sufficient for sociability and you can speak if you have something to say,” he says, noting that the choir serves as a bit of a parody of other male-bonding traditions like football and hunting.

More than just a flash in the pan, the choir has spawned a Top-10 hit single and attracts numerous hopefuls each year looking to join the fun.

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And while their version of music won’t suit everyone’s taste, it’s certainly a more gentle alternative than a capella death metal.