Festival choir of moaning residents is big hit

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A band of choir singers are giving a fresh voice to the Capital’s most common groans, with the vocalists proving to be one of the surprise hits of the Festival.

The Complaints Choir of Edinburgh sung their hearts out yesterday surrounded by hundreds of commuters at Waverley Station.

The Complaints Choir of Edinburgh give it their all outside the Scottish Parliament. Picture: Julie Bull

The Complaints Choir of Edinburgh give it their all outside the Scottish Parliament. Picture: Julie Bull

They followed that up with a 15-minute performance outside the Scottish Parliament, delivering a reminder of the delays and costly overruns dogging the £776 million trams project for any politicians willing to listen.

The choristers completed five rehearsals before performing in public for the first time.

All 13 of their live performances are being staged in some on the city’s busiest locations, including St Andrew Square, George Street and outside the City Chambers.

Composer Daniel Padden said: “Our advert stipulated that all you had to do was have a complaint and be prepared to sing about it. There’s a real mix. There’s a few folk that have already sung in choirs, but there’s a lot who have never sung before, which is great. It’s exactly right for the project.

“This group has been really good, they’ve gelled really well. There’s nothing like complaining to bring a group of people together.”

The choir was formed as part of an art project originally conceived by a pair of Finnish artists, Tellervo Kalleinen and Oliver Kochta Kalleinen.

Hundreds of do-it-yourself choirs have sprung up across the world since 2007 under the nine-step guide they created in cities such as St Petersburg, Tokyo, Chicago and Helsinki.

Fellow composer Peter ­Nicholson said trams had surprisingly not been the first complaint raised among the group, whose members are aged from their 20s to 60s.

He said: “Weirdly, it didn’t come up in rehearsal, but we assumed it’s because everyone expected someone else to talk about it. But as soon as trams were mentioned, they were off and we had to shut them up. It was like opening up Pandora’s box.

“Our first idea with the trams, because it’s such a well-known public relations disaster in Edinburgh, was just simply going to have the word tram in it and repeat it and not actually have any other lyrics, no explanation because I think that’s all that was necessary.

“We did add some words, but that was the original idea.”

The choir’s next two performances are on Friday at Waverley Station from 5.30pm and on the Grassmarket from 6.15pm.

Calamity tram, tramity tram..

The lyrics to Trams, as performed by the choir:

Sopranos: Huge disruption everywhere

Buses already take us there

Incompetence beyond belief

Digging up the road to Leith

The trams aren’t even going there

The council clearly doesn’t care

Cycle lanes that disappear

Come to a sudden stop

All: Over budget, over time

No money left for alternative

sustainable transport initiatives...

Women: Tramity tram, tramity tram

Calamity tram, tramity tram

Men: Pointless trams, useless trams

Wasted trams, nonsense trams, tram!

The top gripes

The choir’s lyrics give voice to the following maddening complaints:

• Dog fouling

• Rubbish

• Stag and hen parties

• People texting while walking

• Drivers parking in cycle lanes

• Potholes in pavements

• Parks closing too early