Playing By Ear: A Spectacle Of Shouting Finns

The Finnish group Mieskuoro Huutajat, or Shouting Men, performs in Washington, D.C.'s Dupont Circle neighborhood. [Photo by Jenny Gold/NPR] Dupont Circle is the central coordinate of the neighbhorhood I call home when I’m in Washington. It’s fertile ground for a flaneur, and I’ve witnessed some strange stuff go down around the fountain there — the bike messengers, the crack dealers, the homeless vets in ponchos and bandannas, Sarge and Pigeon Water Man, the guy with the iguana clinging to his arm — so I wish I’d been there this afternoon to hear the Finnish men’s choir Mieskuoro Huutajat, or Shouting Men. Noah Adams describes the scene on NPR:

Unannounced and unsmiling, they walk into the Dupont Circle park wearing black suits, white shirts and black ties made from bicycle inner tubes. The 23 men follow one another in single file around the fountain.

They do not sing the words — they shout them.

The founder and director of the group, Petri Sirvio, says his guys sometimes seem displeased, but they take satisfaction from a good performance.

“Of course, if you succeed in a good piece of art, you are happy,” he says.

Listen to their homage to The Star-Spangled Banner. It sounds like a surreal fable in one of Steve Kuusisto‘s tall tales.

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