New BAO CD – O klang och jubeltid

Benny recording the new BAO album 'O klang och jubeltid' at RMV studios - Photo: Björn Lindahl

A name has been decided on for the new Benny Anderssons Orkester album, due for release in June 2011. It will be called O klang och jubeltid – an English translation is O time of sound and rejoicing.

Aftonbladet had access to a recording session at Benny’s brand new Riksmixningsverket (RMV) recording studio on Skeppsholmen, Stockholm.

As well as recording their thoughts on the day’s session, the publication also took some fantastic pictures which you can view by clicking on the montage below.

I have written to Aftonbladet seeking permission to translate the article and reproduce the images, with full credit given to reporter Jens Peterson and ace photographer Björn Lindahl but am still awaiting a response.

I’m hoping they don’t mind too much but now that the article is over a week old, I decided to publish it for the promotion of the project. Here is a summary of the article.

Blood, sweat and laughter

Music can be built from joy. The joy should have patience. When Benny Anderssons Orkester is recording their new album, it builds bit by bit.

Benny Andersson sings. He sings all the time. No, not in the microphone.

Benny Andersson sings to indicate how to do it. He sings through arrangements that Göran Arnberg has printed for the three instrumentalists.

“Wopp-a-dajdi-dej.”

He goes into the booth and sings through strings parts with Orsa Spelmän.

“Pa-you-do-diii.”

He replicates the rhythm “zacka hummar-dack-a-chack” to indicate where the guitar is scheduled to come in.

Benny Andersson sings out.

The faces behind the voices of Benny Anderssons Orkester are sitting in a corner and studying the notes they received. Tommy Körberg and Helen Sjöholm are not quite satisfied with the song, they added.

“Why we hear so much is because we can’t be our voices,” says Tommy Körberg and frowns.

Six songs have been recorded.

In the morning, two songs are recorded with the entire band playing. In three days, they put down six songs at Benny Andersson’s new studio RMV. All at once. It is best that way. The whole orchestra all at the same time, the way BAO sounds on stage.

Tommy Körberg and Helen Sjöholm go over their vocals on the new songs - Photo: Björn Lindahl
“It’s like a family,” says Helen Sjöholm. “Fun to be with and to record all together. We are usually able to use some of the song performed in the first take.”

But a few lines she should do again. There, she is not alone. There are many small pieces of material considered and discarded.

It is not yet clear which songs will wind up on the record.

“I am worried that there are too many ballads,” says Benny Andersson. The older one gets, the slower the songs move.

O klang and jubeltid is the name of the album – to be released in early June. In the preceding month, there will be a single.

“Everything is visible when you are naked”, sings Helen Sjöholm.

BAO gallery
Click for Björn Lindahl's BAO photo gallery
The song sounds very BAO, and driven by Calle Jakobsson’s bass tuba. The difficult tuba line is advancing up the musical scale and is reminiscent of one of the archipelago boats that are visible through the studio window. Out there it begins to resemble our creation. The music sounds like summer.

They add more wind instruments.

“Hello! Stop. Something sounds wrong.

– That! You shouldn’t do that,” says Benny Andersson.

Many ears listen intensely. Hearing sharp as a microscope. They go through arrangements, change a phrase, remove a note.

“We’ll try it and see how it sounds. Do not write it on the notation in ink”, says Benny.

“I’ll write it with blood!” cries Pälle Grebacken.

They play through it once more.

Still not right. New arrangements are tested out.

Benny and arranger Göran Arnberg together discuss new sounds.

The laws of the music dictate that that every single fragment of sound is like a seasoning, seeing how it fits into the whole.

The simmer of audio is everywhere.

Kalle Moraeus shows Tommy Körberg funny things on his iPhone. He talks about links to quirky clips from his Facebook page. They look like a pair of school kids!

The two laugh themselves red in the face at their iPhone finds and have so much fun that it’s a worry for their health!

Perra Moraeus will add alto saxophone to the song “Kära syster”.

O klang och jubeltid CD cover
Kära syster is a song about the women who many men fall for. A sister song to “Jolene” by Dolly Parton, in which the singer appeals to another woman not to take her man.

Kära syster (Dear Sister) is quite new, but it sounds as if it has been around for a long time. It is a track that’s easy to dance to, and will attract the top couples onto the floor and beneath the coloured lights on this summer’s tour.

It is ten years since the first BAO record appeared. Ten years since they first played for a dancing audience at Skansen.

Helen Sjöholm sings on Kära syster. The new album also has some duets, and on the song O klang and jubeltid most of BAO lends a voice.

Tommy Körberg also gets to stretch his vocal cords.

I have an old Jussi-dänga to sing, Tantis serenad, he said. And Jag hör en sång. The lyric is incredible.

Not just the lyric. The song with the working title Jag hör en sång sounds like a new classic from Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson, and has a sober and dignified solo on bass tuba in the middle.

It was recorded in one take with Tommy Körberg singing along to everyone. He wants to fix his vocals a bit, but … no, it sounds too good.

“You’ll be pestering me a long time to change that”, says Benny Andersson and pats Tommy Körberg.

Kärs syster may need a bit more ‘dressing’. Perra Moraeus finishes his piece of the puzzle.

“Yes sir. It was just right,” said Benny Andersson.

But the song is not quite finished yet. Brass and strings can be improved on.

It went to hell right away, is heard with a heavy sigh from within the studio.

The tone in the studio is rough, well, crude. The kind of rude jokes you tell people you like and are familiar with.

“Calle Jakobsson – you can get out of the studio now”, says Benny Andersson. “We should not have any trombone now. And we will have no trombone. You should not be playing.”

Calle Jakobsson enters the control room and pretends to be upset.

“It’s like ‘Robinson’. One contestant by one contestant, we remove ourselves from the studio,” he says. Pure farewell symphony.

The hunt for the wrong note continues.

“There is something strange somewhere,” said Benny Andersson. “I do wonder if it’s not me.”

He decides to record again.

Kära syster has three key changes. Moraeus may try adding on guitar, mandolin and ukulele. The chords on the ukulele take a while for him to find.

“It sounds like someone who can do better,” said Benny Andersson.

“I’m probably wrong” says Moraeus.

Finally, they realise that during a multi-instrumental chord, one chord is being played that is not the same as anyone else is playing in the song.

“Now I realise why,” says Moraeus.

His pieces are set right. Everything is ready.

Benny is sitting at the console and moves the sliders while the song plays through. He highlights instrument by instrument, adds on effect by effect and builds a more complete sound and it well, sounds amazing from the large speakers.

He looks into the now empty dark studio. Listening, concentrating. A working day is over. Another song is finished.

Article by Jens Peterson. Rough translation, not to be relied upon (!) by icethesite.

Thank you to Niclas Ericsson.

This is BAO:

  • Benny Andersson, piano, accordion, ukulele, music, producer
  • Göran Arnberg, keyboards
  • Janne Bengtson, flute
  • Jogga (Jan-Anders) Ernlund, bass
  • Pär Grebacken, saxophone and clarinet
  • Leif Göras, violin
  • Nicke (Nils-Erik) Göthe, violin
  • Calle Jakobsson, tuba
  • Tommy Körberg, vocals
  • Leif Lindvall, trumpet
  • Kalle Moraeus, everything
  • Olle Moraeus, violin
  • Perra (Per-Erik) Moraeus, violin, alto saxophone
  • Lars Rudolfsson, accordion
  • Helen Sjöholm, vocals
  • Jörgen Stenberg, drums.
Related links

BAO Tour dates and ticket link
Mono music
Aftonbladet drops in on the recording sessions of O klang och jubletid
O klang och jubeltid – Tracklist

8 Replies to “New BAO CD – O klang och jubeltid”

  1. The one virtue I have noticed among the great composers in history is they all had an ear to know when it was right. Benny is one of the greats; history just doesn’t know it yet. -Robb

  2. Couldn’t agree more, Robb! Benny is one of the greatest composers. The diversity of his work belies belief!

  3. I never thought I would reach a point where my ultimate dream of a new ABBA album would be matched by my desire for a new BAO album. But I have finally decided that that he produces more beautiful music now than he did in the 70’s and (blasphemy) I love Helen’s voice more than Agnetha’s and Frida’s. The only thing that would surpass a new BAO album would be another masterpiece to rival Kristina . . .

  4. Is that Benny’s good old Yamaha GX1 behind the master (picture where Benny is sitting behind his grand piano with earphones) ? A few years ago, there was a clip on YouTube with a strange guy explaining how it works, claiming that the one he has was Benny’s, and in ABBA Guide to Stockholm it is mentioned that it sits in the Musical Instruments Museum in Stockholm.

    Werner Heyvaert, Brussels

  5. I am so thrilled to learn of this new recording! We we be able to get it in the U.S.? I would like to pre-order it on Amazon, if possible. Thank you.

  6. I was wondering what happened to the 9ft Bosendorfer piano from the old Polar Studios.

    I like the reference to another classic by B&B. amazing they keep rearranging those notes so cleverly.

  7. The picture of Benny at the piano is totally awesome. You can tell it’s going to sound amazing.
    I hope they write a new musical.

  8. I disagree with the ever statement that whenever Benny Andersson writes and records a song in the pop genre it is an ‘ABBA song’, whether it is back in the days of Gemini, Chess material, Ainbusk Singers or Josefin Nilsson, Kristina material or BAO.
    ABBA was blessed with the talent of Benny Andersson, and no doubt he was the musical force behind the foursome, but if you start listening through his merits from the 1966 recordings with Hep Stars onwards: these ‘ABBA’ fingerprints are all over Bennys productions already back then in certain recordings by Lena Andersson, Ted Gärdestad, Svenne & Lotta, Finn Kalvik, and several others.
    The ‘ABBA sound’ was for sure also the united voices of Anni-Frid and Agnetha, but mind you, the ‘sound’ was there also when Björn or the girls sang solo.
    The ‘sound’ is evident in Ainbusk Singers’ ‘Älska Mig’, in Kalle Moreus’ ‘Beatrice’, in ‘Glöm Mig Om Du Kan’ from Chess, and oddities like ‘Fru Vennermans’ Sång, the ‘1981 World Ice Hockey Championship Fanfare’, the ‘Red Cross Ringtone’ and the like.
    Listen to ‘It’s Nice to Be Back Again’ by Hep Stars, and Fridas version ‘Min Egen Stad’. Try ‘A Flower In My Garden’ and Arne Lamberts version ‘Fröken Blåklint; listen again to Hep Stars and ‘She Will Love You’ and ‘Speleman’ or Bennys 1969 Eurovision try ‘Hej, Clown’.
    It’s there already then, that nordic blues, that melancholic pop tune which Benny now has become even better at. Hep Stars WAS not ‘Sunny Girl’, but that young genius steered the rock band in the schlager direction already with his first no 1.
    Listen; Lena Andersson and ‘En visa om arton svanar’ (or even the danish cover by Dræsinebanden).
    Agnetha and Frida did not take that ‘sound’ with them into their 1980’s solo attempts, but listen to the ‘sound’ on Lena Anderssons ‘Visa I Sitruslunden’: Benny did not write that, but he sure gave the song an arrangement you can ‘recognize’ -as on Finn Kalviks ‘Lilla Vackra Anna’ and Geminis ‘Mio My Mio’.
    It’s like Nanne Grönwall says on the radio as she premieres the single ‘Kära Syster’ : she is ‘green of envy’ on hearing such a good composistion (appropriately, as Swedens entry to Eurovision was such a lousy one).

    BAO has its own identity: Bennys band is not ABBA. It is Benny you recognize.
    And Björn, Agnetha and Anni-Frid are right: they’ve all turned 60 and more: ABBA is glorious history, but it was time to stop in 1982.
    The only reason to regroup must be for a fun one-time joyous performance for the fans. A new song today would sound as BAO with new vocalists.
    I hope they’ll do it, for their sake, to receive an honorary applause!

    But Benny stands alone with his ‘sound’, and I love the way he’s steering: two more days, and we’re in for a treat from one of the worlds’ best composers: this man loves what he is doing, and so do we!

    Love to y’all; take care!

    JOhn

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