‘Fellow’ Benny unveils new composition at KMH royal gala opening

On Thursday 26 January, Stockholm’s Royal College of Music, celebrated the opening of its new campus with an inauguration ceremony which featured a specially penned piece of music by Benny Andersson with lyrics by Björn Ulvaeus, Vi äger drömmarna (We Own The Dreams).

Benny acknowledges the audience’s appreciation

Benny, who has helped raise the money needed to fit out the new state-of-the-art building through his involvement with the ‘Music For Millions’ fundraising campaign, attended the prestigious event accompanied by his wife Mona.

Görel Hanser was also among the invited guests along with Göran Arnberg from Benny’s band who is an alumni of Kungliga Musikhögskolan (KMH) and wrote the choral arrangements for Benny and Björn’s new composition.

The gala ceremony, attended by luminaries and royalty including His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia, began with a champagne reception in the futuristic, atrium style foyer that connects the original brick stables with the glass and steel structure of the new building.

Following  the unveiling of a large brass plaque engraved with the names of the project’s most significant donors, KMH students performed a contemporary piece from platforms around and above the room before guests were invited to take their seats in the Royal Hall.

Once inside, the concert continued with a mixture of modern, folk and traditional works by acclaimed Swedish composers including Karin Rehnquist and Jesper Nordin.

The students performed the choral Vi äger drömmarna, towards the end of the performance. Benny took the stage briefly afterwards to acknowledge the applause and thank the conductor and musicians.

Benny is only the 9th person to receive a KMH Fellowship

Interspersing the evening’s musical programme were a number of inaugural speeches and presentations, one of which included bestowing Benny with an Honorary Fellowship of Kungliga Musikhögskolan.

According to the music school, the title is only awarded to “particularly deserving persons of great artistic and educational inspiration and integrity”.

The inscription on Benny’s certificate translates as: ‘For rich and multi-faceted achievements as a composer, musical arranger, band leader and instrumentalist, a great commitment to younger fellow musicians and the support of KMH and its students.’

Benny is only the 9th person in the school’s history to have received the honour and he joins the likes of opera singer Birgit Nilsson, violinist Isaac Stern, record producer Sir George Martin and choral conductor Eric Ericson.

(c) 2017 Mono Music AB/Kopparnäset Immaterialrättigheter AB

Speaking to icethesite after the ceremony Benny said in his usual humble manner:

“I have no idea why they think I deserve to receive the Fellowship, but I am extremely honoured and happy that they do. I think it is a very nice collection of names to be a part of.”

Benny also told us that he does hope to record Vi äger drömmarna one day, however, he doesn’t know who will perform it, or when or where it will eventually appear.

Thursday’s concert is scheduled to be broadcast on Swedish radio on 9 February and film from the ceremony will be included on a TV documentary about KMH to be shown later this year.

KMH’s housewarming party continues into this weekend with a packed programme of free concerts, workshops and events open to the public.

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ABBA and Simon Fuller create cutting-edge digital experience!

ABBA returns! World’s favorite pop act teaming up with Simon Fuller to launch new digital experience!
ABBA returns…the world’s favorite pop act teams up with Simon Fuller to launch new digital experience.

All four members of ABBA, entertainment entrepreneur Simon Fuller, and Universal Music are partnering together in a groundbreaking venture that will utilise the very latest in digital and virtual reality technology.

Fuller came to prominence through managing pop group the Spice Girls.

He went on to create the Idol franchise and has managed the careers of some of entertainment and sports biggest stars, including Victoria and David Beckham, Annie Lennox and Lewis Hamilton.

In 2008, he was certified as the most successful British music manager of all time by Billboard magazine and even has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

The aim of the link up between Fuller and the ABBA members is to create an original entertainment experience, which will enable a new generation of fans to see, hear, and feel ABBA in a way previously unimagined.

Simon Fuller has been quietly invested in virtual reality technologies, developing hyper-realistic digital humans in the field of entertainment, for several years.

Frida
Anni-Frid Lyngstad

About the project, Frida said: “Our fans around the world are always asking us to reform and so I hope this new ABBA creation will excite them as much as it excites me!”

The collaboration with ABBA will fully realise the possibilities of virtual reality ‘ahead of the curve’ – and in the process hopes to transform the face of popular entertainment.

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The members of ABBA will be involved throughout the creative process maintaining the authenticity and integrity of the band’s original vision within this exciting new realm of possibilities.

Simon Fuller
Simon Fuller

Simon Fuller: “Having seen over the past few months the creativity and ideas flowing from the members of ABBA, it fills me with great excitement.

“This new technological world we are exploring, with Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence at the forefront, allows us to create entertainment and new content in ways that could never previously have been imagined.”

Sir Lucian Grainge, Chairman and CEO of Universal Music Group said: “I’m thrilled to be involved in this innovative new project that will introduce the band who are responsible for some of the greatest songs and melodies in pop music to a new generation of fans.”

A press release to herald the new project states: Nearly 35 years after their last public performance together, the members of ABBA are preparing to give their fans around the world what millions of them have long dreamed of but considered impossible: A new entertainment experience.

Benny Andersson
Benny Andersson

Benny said: “We’re inspired by the limitless possibilities of what the future holds and are loving being a part of creating something new and dramatic here.”

icethesite hopes to be able to share a few more details of this exciting and pioneering collaboration, with the full backing of Agnetha, Frida, Benny and Björn, soon – but the full details of the project and where and when you can see it will be announced in 2017.

BAO on Tour 2016 in Instagram pictures and videos

Keep an eye on this post for lots of pictures of Helen, Tommy and BAO on their 2016 Summer tour of Sweden.

Thanks to everyone for uploading such special pictures, especially @BAOPRAO of course!

Helen Sjöholm #helensjöholm #bennyanderssonsorkester #leksand #bao

A photo posted by icethesite (@icethesite) on

Benny Andersson & Helen Sjöholm. #bao #bennyanderssonsorkester #sommarturne2016

A photo posted by Michèl Annink (@michel_annink) on

The inimtable Mr K!! #bennyanderssonsorkester #bao #leksand

A photo posted by icethesite (@icethesite) on

#bao

A video posted by ☎Melis🐮📵 (@melis__sjuttiett) on

En natt i Köpenhamn available now!

It’s full steam ahead in Sweden at the moment, in preparation for the release next month of the new BAO album Mitt hjärta klappar för dig.

En natt i Köpenhamn available now
En natt i Köpenhamn available now

The catchy new Benny Anderssons Orkester single, En natt i Köpenhamn – featuring a lead vocal by Helen Sjöholm – is now available as a digital download in many territories on iTunes, Spotify, and Groove Music.

The Mitt hjärta klappar för dig artwork is a clever mash up of live performance photos of the BAO members, with Benny Andersson’s accordion in the spotlight. As previously reported, the album will be released on CD, vinyl and digital formats and features 11 brand new tracks.

Album art for Mitt hjärta klappar för dig - the new BAO album, scheduled for release 10 June
Album art for Mitt hjärta klappar för dig – the new BAO album, scheduled for release on 10 June

Talking of live performances, you do know BAO are touring Sweden this summer, don’t you? If you don’t, here are the dates with links to buy your ticket!

BAO are Benny Anderssons Orkester featuring vocalists Helen Sjöholm and Tommy Körberg.

Benny Andersson to tour with Gustaf Sjökvists Kammarkör

A short tour featuring Benny Andersson and Gustaf Sjökvists Kammarkör has just been announced.

Gustaf Sjökvists Kammarkör at Eric Ericsonhallen in 2015
Gustaf Sjökvists Kammarkör at Eric Ericsonhallen in 2015
Kärlekens Tid features tracks from Benny's back catalogue
Kärlekens Tid features tracks from Benny’s back catalogue

Benny recorded the album Kärlekens Tid with the choir and also performed concerts – one was the Jubileumskonsert plus two concerts were held last year in Stockholm’s Eric Ericsonhallen.

The 2016 appearances are below and ticket sales are made in conjunction with ticketmaster.se:

  • Thursday September 22 – Uppsala, Uppsala Konsert & Kongress
  • Friday September 23 – Gävle, Gävle Konserthus
  • Sunday September 25 – Västerås, Västerås Konserthus
  • Sunday October 9– Stockholm, Eric Ericsonhallen (tickets on sale in June)

If you want to hear the choir that Benny described as sounding “like a butterfly wrapped in cotton” for yourself, check out the video below of Anthem from CHESS filmed last year:

There’s more…

BAO new album – Mitt hjärta klappar för dig

The new 11-track album by BAO (Benny Anderssons Orkester) is called ‘Mitt hjärta klappar för dig’ and is scheduled to be released on Friday 10 June in Sweden. The first single, due shortly, is ‘En natt i Köpenhamn’.

Benny Anderssons Orkester
Benny Anderssons Orkester – Photo: Peter Knutson

In a change from what was reported previously, the album will consist of 11 tracks. This is in order that the vinyl version (where space is limited) can match that of the CD release. The vinyl version is slated for a mid-July release.

Of the ten tracks with vocals (all in Swedish), nine have lyrics written by Björn Ulvaeus and one features lyrics by Frida Hyvönen.

Mitt hjärta klappar för dig
Mitt hjärta klappar för dig – due June 10

Mitt hjärta klappar för dig – tracklist

  1. En natt i Köpenhamn
  2. Bara bara du
  3. Hem till mamma
  4. Minnena bleknar med tiden
  5. Summa summarum
  6. Timmarna går så fort när man har roligt
  7. En svala gör ingen sommar
  8. Smoochy (instrumental)
  9. Isabella Rahm (lyrics by Frida Hyvönen)
  10. Mitt hjärta klappar för dig
  11. Ticka ticka väckarklocka

For more information on BAO, please check out the Benny Anderssons Orkester Facebook page.

When Björn Ulvaeus met Richard Dawkins

When Björn Ulvaeus met Richard Dawkins was filmed at Stockholm's Cirkus theatre.
‘When Björn Ulvaeus met Richard Dawkins’ was filmed at Stockholm’s Cirkus theatre.

In the video embedded below, former ABBA member Björn Ulvaeus meets author, ethologist and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins.

The meeting was recorded on 12 December 2015 at the Cirkus theatre in Stockholm. The pair discuss Dawkins’ work on the front line of research and about their joint fight against superstition and fallacies.

Björn is a prominent member of the Swedish Humanist Association and has written articles about his humanistic approach to life. On joining the Humanist society, Björn said: “When I saw irrational, religious conservative values and hostility against science influencing society, I searched for an organisation that deals with these questions.”

Dawkins’ book Kampen mot illusionerna (Fight against delusions) seen in the background of the video revolves around the second half of his eventful life and relates his encounters and experiences linked to science and research. The organisers of the event were Fri Tanke Publishing House and the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

The video lasts for 1 hour, 7 minutes.

There’s more…

BAO 2016 Swedish Summer Tour Dates announced

Benny Anderssons Orkester
Benny Anderssons Orkester – Photo: Peter Knutson

Benny Andersson and his bunch of merry men (and woman!) will be hitting the road throughout Sweden in 2016.

In our May update post, Benny told icethesite that a new album would be released in Spring 2016 with a tour to follow. The dates are now available.

BAO 2016 Tour dates:

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