Press release: BAO on Summer Tour 2019 with Helen Sjöholm and Tommy Körberg

Tickets on sale today for BAO’s first tour since 2016!

The eight venue tour will start on 25 July in Göteborg and finish 3 August in Trosa.

Full schedule:

  • Thursday 25 July – Trädgårdsföreningen, Göteborg
  • Friday 26 July – Sofiero, Helsingborg
  • Saturday 27 July – Skälby Gård, Kalmar
  • Sunday 28 July – Bergs slussar, Linköping
  • Wednesday 31 July – Sammilsdalsgropen, Leksand
  • Thursday 01 August – Sundbyholms slott, Eskilstuna
  • Friday 02 August – Skansen, Stockholm
  • Saturday 03 August – Tullgarns slott, Trosa

From the press release:

BAO on summer tour 2019 with Helen Sjöholm and Tommy Körberg.

After more than two years’ break, it is time for Benny Anderssons Orkester, together with Helen Sjöholm and Tommy Körberg, to embark on Sweden’s roads again.

During 8 evenings, they will offer you dancing at scenic venues, and as a faithful flag waver for the folkparks tradition, BAO are a joy for both the dance-happy BAO audience and folkpark holiday makers who are happy to listen to the concert on the green, with a picnic basket near at hand.

Their first record was released 2001 and has been followed by another 7 studio albums. The list is long, and hits like Vår sista dans, Du är min man and Fait Accompli have become modern classics!

In the summer of 2016, shortly before BAO’s last summer tour, it was time for the band’s last album Min hjärta klappar för dig to be released, containing among other things the streaming hit En natt i Köpenhamn. The music is as usual written by Benny Andersson, and the lyrics by Björn Ulvaeus with guest writer Frida Hyvönen.

In addition to the band leader Benny Andersson (accordion, piano), BAO consists of Kalle Moraeus, Leif Göras, Olle Moraeus and Perra Moraeus (violin, etc. who together make up the respected musical group Orsa Spelmän), Göran Arnberg, harmonium, Janne Bengtson, flute, Per Grebacken, saxophone & clarinet, Jogga Ernlund, double bass, Calle Jakobsson, tuba, Leif Lindvall, trumpet, Lars Rudolfsson, accordion, Jörgen Stenberg, drums & percussion, and Helen Sjöholm and Tommy Körberg on vocals.

Ticket information:

Tickets are sold through www.blixten.se/bao and www.eventim.se, 0771-130 150

Note: Beware of dishonest unauthorised resellers – turn to the organiser if you are unsure!

Adult (from 18 years) 600 SEK
Youth (13 – 18 years) 300 KR
Children under 13 years enter free

Please note that it is a standing event. A limited number of chairs can be rented on site in some cities. In some of the cities it is also possible to bring your own chair (of folding chair type!) into the concert area, subject to availability. Local regulations apply.

Benny Andersson receives ‘Classics Without Boundaries’ Opus Klassik award

The Opus Klassik awards were presented last night at Konzerthouse Berlin
The Opus Klassik awards were presented on 14 October at Konzerthouse Berlin

Yesterday afternoon, at a prestigious ceremony in Konzerthaus Berlin, Benny Andersson was presented with an Opus Klassik award in recognition of his solo album Piano.

The prize is a new one and this year represents the first opportunity The Association for the Promotion of Classical Music has had to honour outstanding classical artists and sound recordings.

“Classical music in Germany has to be honoured with its own prize,” said Burkhard Glashoff, CEO of the Association for the Advancement of Classical Music. “In this respect we developed a concept for a new music prize that recognises exceptional achievement and reflects the industry in all its diversity,” he explained.

The winners were selected by a jury of music industry experts.

Benny was presented with the award for ‘Classics Without Boundaries’, by the German singer and leader of the Palast Orchestra, Max Raabe.

In his acceptance speech, Benny spoke of how he had been extremely surprised and incredibly humbled to have been nominated for such a prestigious prize.

Benny Andersson with his Opus Klassik award
Benny Andersson with his Opus Klassik award for his solo album ‘Piano’

He said that he had originally only made the album so that his grandchildren would have a recording of him playing but was now beginning to think it had been a rather good idea! He also said that it felt particularly special as it was the first award he had received just for him, rather than as part of a group such as ABBA or BAO.

During the prize-giving concert, which was recorded and broadcast by the German television channel ZDF, Benny performed music from CHESS as well as Thank You For The Music, together with the concert house’s orchestra and the other celebrated artists, for the concert’s finale.

Benny speaking to the media yesterday afternoon in Berlin
Benny speaking to the media yesterday afternoon in Berlin

Other live performances included opera stars Diana Damrau and Juan Diego Flórez, Regula Mühlemann, Lucas & Arthur Jussen, 4 Times Baroque and Sheku Kanneh-Mason, who played at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle last May.

A special edition of the album Piano (including two bonus tracks just released to digital media outlets MoneyMoney, Money and Jag hör) will be released in November.

Benny Andersson – Piano

Benny Anderssons Orkester to record new material and possibly tour in 2019

Benny has confirmed that his band, Benny Anderssons Orkester (BAO) will be back in the studio over the winter to record some new tunes.

Benny Anderssons Orkester is one of Benny’s most popular and enduring musical projects
Benny Anderssons Orkester is one of Benny’s most popular and enduring musical projects

“I don’t anticipate it being a full album, but at least two or three tracks,” Benny told us. “It has been a long time since we last did that and I think we will all enjoy it – it’s good to keep the system oiled,” he said.

Benny also divulged that the band are hoping to tour next year.

“If we have some new songs to play then it would be really nice to go on the road again,” Benny said. “We have discussed it and all agree that eight venues over two weekends, as in previous years, feels about right.

“Nothing is as yet set in stone because it is so difficult to find dates when everyone is available, but, if we are all still alive then it’s a definite maybe-perhaps!” he teased.

Benny and his band last toured in 2016, following the release of their latest studio album Mitt hjärta klappar för dig (My heart beats for you).

BAO released their first album in 2001 and have in total released eight albums in Swedish and one in English.

There’s more…

Benny Anderssons Orkester
The website monomusic.se (in Swedish) has details of all of BAO’s output

The newly refreshed Mono Music website has details of every BAO release, and also all the other productions that Benny’s record company has released. It also has information about sheet music that is available to purchase.

Benny Andersson reveals new recording may be on the way next year

In an exclusive conversation with icethesite, Benny spoke about his idea to record an album of accordion music with his long-term friend and collaborator, Lars Rudolfsson. 

Lars Rudolfsson and Benny from London, 2009
Lars Rudolfsson and Benny on their accordions – pictured in London, 2009

How did the idea come about?

“Whenever Lars comes over to my house he brings his accordion and we play together a little and it sounds pretty okay,” Benny told us. “So we decided that maybe we should go into the studio, just the two of us and see if what we produce does indeed have any validity.”

Do you have any particular tracks in mind?

“It will most likely be a mixture of old Swedish music along with a few of my own compositions, but, whatever we record we know that it will be a definite non-seller!” Benny laughed. “That’s kind of nice though, as it means there is no pressure or expectation to play the well-known tunes. We can just choose the tracks which we enjoy – those that feel good to play,” he explained.

When might the album be released?

“It’s probably the stupidest idea ever, but Lars and I really enjoy being together, so I know that the process is going to be a lot of fun,” Benny grinned. “And if we do happen to like what we record, then we will release an album next Spring.”

‘Chess på Svenska’ premieres in Helsinki to critical acclaim

This weekend, Helsinki’s Svenska Teatern (the Swedish National Theatre) unveiled a new production of the Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus and Tim Rice musical Chess på Svenska.

Scenes from Svenska Teatern’s premiere of Chess på Svenska

Adapted for the Finnish stage by Lars Rudolfsson and directed by Maria Sid, the show closely follows the original Swedish format. A couple of notable differences being the inclusion of another song, Sanninges minut (The Moment Of Truth), created through the addition of lyrics, written by Björn, to a section of End Game and a comical send-up of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet in place of the circus style acts just before The Deal. It also incorporates the Press Conference scene first introduced in Gothenburg.

The cast, led by Maria Yilpää as Florence, Glenn Edell in the role of the American Freddie Trumper, Johanna Ström as Svetlana and Alexander Lycke as the Russian Anatolij Serievskij, together with Kristofer Möller as Molokov and Silva Lillrank playing the first ever female Arbiter, all give outstanding performances.

In comparison with the English National Opera’s recent lavish production of CHESS, the staging at Svenska Teatern is quite minimalistic. The plot is easily followed though in this pared down production which allows the magnificent score to shine.

Benny Andersson at Svenska Teatern, Helsinki
Benny Andersson at Svenska Teatern, Helsinki

Speaking to icethesite after the show, Benny said that he is delighted with how his music sounds.

“Anders Eljas has done a really great job with the orchestral arrangements, and the acoustics in Svenska Teatern are just wonderful,” he said. “It has been a pure joy to work with so many talented artists in a setting such as this. I don’t think I have ever heard Nobody’s Side sound as good!”

With the reviews so far being some of the best in the history of the musical and many critics awarding the production the coveted maximum five stars, the press are hailing Chess på Svenska a huge success.

Saturday’s premiere audience showed their appreciation with a standing ovation accompanied by plenty of foot stomping and whoops of delight as the cast took their curtain calls.

So, does Benny think the Svenska Teatern’s production may be getting close to the much talked about ‘definitive version’ of the musical?

“No! But as the song almost goes… each show of Chess means there’s one less variation left to be played!” he laughed.

Chess på Svenska runs in Helsinki until Spring 2019. Tickets are available now through the theatre’s official website svenskateatern.fi

There’s more…

Björn Ulvaeus talks Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

The world premiere event for Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again took place at London’s Eventim Apollo.

On Monday 16 July 2018 at London’s Eventim Apollo in Hammersmith, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again received its world premiere. Released to the wider world on 20 July, the movie has already smashed box office records around the globe.

At the after premiere party in London, Björn told icethesite about the reception the premiere crowd had given the movie:

“It was absolutely fantastic. The event was really quite special with all the actors gathered on the stage before the showing. The reaction was something else!”

Scenes from the world premiere which took place on 16 July

And how was it that ‘Mamma Mia! 2’ finally came into being?

“Well the story has to serve the songs and the other way around of course. And we waited until we had a script that everyone agreed we could work with. Ol Parker did a brilliant job of weaving the story together and then we could see that there was a second movie in there after all!”

What was it like revisiting decades old songs in order to rewrite lyrics for the movie?

“Movie songs have to serve the story and where it was felt that the originals didn’t quite hit a particular moment on the head, I was more than happy to make a few changes here and there. Where in the ABBA recordings the stories were self contained, with the movie I had to ensure that they fitted the wider story.

“The new lyrics came to me pretty quickly and they felt very organic.

“For My Love, My Life to be set in a church meant that revisiting it in its new setting had religious overtones for me.”

Even though you are an atheist?

“Even though and maybe because of. Religion is a fascinating subject to me.”

Have Agnetha and Frida seen the movie yet?
“Not yet but I am pretty sure they will be very happy, as we are, when they do. It’s a good flick.”

There’s more…

Benny delighted party goers when he took to the piano and accompanied Lily James, Jessica Keenan Wynn and Alexa Davies in an impromptu rendition of <em>Mamma Mia. </em>Dancing queens Judy Craymer and Christine Baranski were clearly having the time of their lives!
Benny delighted party goers when he took to the piano and accompanied Lily James, Jessica Keenan Wynn and Alexa Davies in an impromptu rendition of Mamma Mia. Dancing queens Judy Craymer and Christine Baranski were clearly having the time of their lives!

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again update

What is certain to be a huge Summer blockbuster of a movie is almost out of the starting gate. Benny Andersson has been at work with the team in Los Angeles putting the finishing touches to the sound mix of Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again that will be heard in cinemas all around the globe soon.

(L-R) Michael Minckler (Chief mixer), Gary Goetzman (Producer), Benny Andersson (Composer), Bernard Löhr (Sound Engineer), Ludvig Andersson (Associate Producer) and
Angie Rubin (Music Editor).

Benny told icethesite about the movie mix sessions: “It is such a joy to work together with people who are so skilled at what they are doing. Every single one of them. Totally concentrated on their separate working stations but always with a sharp eye on the whole. An amazing experience again, just like it was on the first film 10 years ago.”

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again is both sequel and prequel to the original Mamma Mia! movie and stars Lily James (Young Donna), Amanda Seyfried (Sophie), Dominic Cooper (Sky), Andy Garcia (Señor Cienfuegos), Meryl Streep (Donna), Pierce Brosnan (Sam), Colin Firth (Harry), Christine Baranski (Tanya), Stellan Skarsgård (Bill), Julie Walters (Rosie), Cher (Ruby Sheridan), Jeremy Irvine (Young Sam), Celia Imrie, (Vice Chancellor), Hugh Skinner (Young Harry) and Josh Dylan (Young Bill). The director is Ol Parker.

Those close to the production have revealed that ABBA songs featured in the new movie include One Of Us, When I Kissed The Teacher, Angeleyes, Waterloo, Fernando, I’ve Been Waiting For You, Why Did It Have To Be Me?, Kisses Of Fire, and My Love, My Life among others.

The film which is distributed by Universal Pictures picks up the story ten years after the original film ends when Sophie learns all about how her mother Donna met her three ‘dads’.

The entire movie mix gang!

The world premiere of Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again will be in London on 16 July. The film will officially open in most territories on 20 July.

There’s more…

Watch the final trailer:

‘After ABBA’ exhibition opens at ABBA The Museum

On Monday 7 May, five years to the day since it first opened on the Stockholm island of Djurgården, ABBA The Museum unveiled its new, much anticipated, ‘After ABBA’ exhibition.

Scenes from the After ABBA exhibition at ABBA The Museum
Scenes from the After ABBA exhibition at ABBA The Museum

Celebrating the musical careers of the four ABBA members since their ‘break’ in 1982, the exhibition, which occupies the space that previously housed The Swedish Music Hall of Fame, features individual areas dedicated to Agnetha and Frida’s after ABBA careers, plus sections for the Benny and Björn musicals Mamma Mia!, CHESS, Kristina från Duvemåla and Hjälp sökes. Also featured of course is Benny’s latest band, Benny Anderssons Orkester (BAO).

As in the original section of the museum, the post-ABBA journey begins with a short video montage. Once inside, visitors are surrounded by beautifully lit costumes, scenery and props from the musicals, gold discs, rare photographs and memorabilia plus never-before-seen videos.

There are also a variety of interactive activities including the chance to conduct a virtual orchestra playing music from the CHESS score, dancing to BAO on a wooden dance floor alongside strings of coloured lights (just like the real BAO shows), singing along with Benny collaborator and BAO member Kalle Moraeus, repainting Donna’s villa on the set of Mamma Mia! and trivia quizzes.

More views from the After ABBA exhibition at ABBA The Museum

Museum Director Caroline Fagerlind said: “We want to tell the full story of the band. We want to show visitors that ABBA have kept their creativity alive, that they are still around us today and that their story continues to grow.”

As you leave the exhibition, which is a permanent addition to the museum, the words ‘To be continued…’ are inscribed along the wall.

Last Monday’s official opening ceremony, attended by Björn Ulvaeus, was followed by an evening party for 200 invited guests including Benny Andersson, Görel Hanser, Helen Sjöholm, Peter Jöback, Tommy Körberg, Ingmarie Halling, ABBA’s costume designer Owe Sandström, sound engineer Michael B Tretow, guitar player Janne Schaffer, photographer Anders Hanser, Benny’s son Peter with wife Nanne and a handful of lucky fans. 

During the celebrations, to the delight of the party-goers, Benny took to his accordion and together with a few of his BAO bandmates played two instrumental tracks, BAO’s ever-popular Cirkus finemang and The Soviet Machine from the musical CHESS.

Afterwards, Benny told icethesite how he has been actively engaged with the project from the outset: “I’ve read through all the analogue and digital texts on display and watched the videos,” he said.

“They also asked me to choose the music for the virtual conductor and I thought that the instrumental introduction to Bangkok would be tricky enough,” he laughed.

However, despite this involvement Benny said he has yet to see the finished exhibition: “I’ve seen some pictures though and I think it looks really nice,” he told us.

A new compilation CD ‘after ABBA’ released to tie in with the launch of the exhibition and which features the brand new Arturo Sandoval/Frida cover of ABBA’s Andante, Andante is available exclusively at the museum shop. 

Part of the After ABBA exhibition at ABBA The Museum
Part of the After ABBA exhibition at ABBA The Museum

There’s more…

  • Check out the ABBA The Museum website for tickets to see the new exhibition for yourself.