[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 February, 2004, 12:23 GMT
Shouting men of Finland perform ice breaker
Finland's Mieskuoro Huutajat choir (picture by Jaani Fohr)
The choir packs in the tunes on ice

Take a group of men from the northern Finnish town of Oulu - population 100,000 - dress them in dark suits with black ties made from the inner tubes of car tyres.

Next, send them out on to the ice floes of the frozen Baltic and get them to shout - in choral unison - at a stranded 10,000-ton ice breaking vessel, and you have got something called Mieskuoro Huutajat.

Otherwise known as the shouting men of Finland, it is more than a bunch of Finns getting things off their chests by upping their decibels.

It is a new art form, and it is taking parts of the world by arctic storm.

Compositions are carefully planned - but we do not sing, we scream in unison
Mika Ronkainen
Audiences in France, Iceland, Britain and Japan - to name but a few - have already been either entranced or baffled by the choristers of Oulu.

In fact, the choir has grown so successful that one of the screaming Finns, Mika Ronkainen, has just directed a film about them.

Popular anthems

"It is like a normal choir", he says.

Members of Finland's Mieskuoro Huutajat choir  (picture by Jaani Fohr)
The choir has toured Europe, the US and Japan
"The compositions are carefully planned - but we do not sing, we scream in unison.

"People seem to like our collective yelling and even pay to hear us. The Finnish national anthem is especially popular."

Mieskuoro Huutajat (Men's Choir Shouters) was formed in 1987 in Oulu, by a group of young men who confess they had nothing better to do.

The idea was to dress about 20 men in distinctive black attire, white shirts and black rubber ties, and train them to shout some of the most beloved songs in Finland.

Since its formation, the choir has toured Europe several times, in addition to the former Soviet Union, the US and Japan.

Its latest venture is taking place on the arctic pack ice where the choir - dressed like penguins - has been performing before the crew of an ice-bound ship.

"It is always something the choir has wanted to do," says Mr Ronkainen, "because such antics create a form of absurdity which we find works the best."

Listen to the shouting Finnish choir

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific