Benny Anderssons Orkester to play Skansen

Benny and the gang will be back in action in Stockholm on Tuesday, August 5, the final night of the 2008 shows. The season will also feature Eva Dahlgren and Peter Jöback.

Benny Anderssons Orkester due back to Skansen in August 08

Benny Anderssons Orkester due back to Skansen in August 08

SVT’s Allsång på Skansen subsite

Benny on Swedish TV talking Mamma Mia! movie (Updated)

You’ll see Benny in the studio sharing with the presenter snippets of gossip, music and video from the forthcoming film.  Thanks go to Ian for the news and Kristina for the translation…

The most important quotes:

Presenter: The greatest musical success in the last years is without a doubt Mamma Mia! A movie has been made and the premiere will be in the summer. Right now, Benny Andersson is adding the final touches/final mixes to the music. He’s never before worked in such a big production and we’re really impressed, especially by Meryl Streep during her quick visit to Stockholm.

Benny: This whole project has been tremendously fun, because I got to learn new things that I knew nothing about.

[shows clips from the movie]

Benny:  It’s a simple story that doesn’t try to be anything more than that, it’s there just to carry the lyrics. But what happens when there’s these people involved, Stellan, Pierce, Colin and Meryl, is that it gets some kind of…I don’t know what it is, but it gets very real.

[plays Meryl singing]

Benny: That’s one take. She’s a miracle.

Presenter: What do you think about musicals?

Benny: There are very few musicals that I think are good. I think “Kristina från Duvemåla” is a good musical, but speaking of movie musicals, then “Sound of Music” is the one and only. I’ve seen it fifteen times. I’m going to watch it now and analyse how they solve it, technically, going in and out of the singing and such.

[presenter says something about how it can seem unnatural to burst into song]

Benny:  What you shouldn’t do is sing something that has already been said, or will be said in the next scene. That’s a pretty common mistake.  Our goal is not to make the music as good as it can be, because it already has been. It already exists and therefore I’m not scared to handle it somewhat disrespectfully.

Benny: Stellan Skarsgård had a fantastic audition. [miming a phone to his ear]

– Hi, it’s Benny Andersson – can you sing?

People tell me I can.

– Can you sing for example “We can go walking, we can go dancing…” He did, and I said well, no problem then. And he came to the audition and sang again, and it was no trouble. He doesn’t think he can sing though.

SVT.se – Kobra

Benny to write orchestra piece for the Malmö Arena opening night

Malmö Arena sketch

Press Release: On November 6, 2008 the new landmark of Malmö, Percy Nilsson’s Arena, will be inaugurated with a multi-faceted, glittering party and gala show, a tribute to The Wonder of Swedish Music.

Swedish, popular, world famous

Ever since the 19th century Sweden has been heard internationally in music contexts, singers like Jenny Lind, Jussi Björling and Birgit Nilsson have conquered the greatest stages around the world, and so have pop bands like ABBA, Roxette and Ace of Base too. And today Swedish songwriters and producers write hits for international stars like Celine Dion, Britney Spears and Madonna.

The inaugurating of Malmö Arena is a tribute concert to this phenomenon, a gala concert that will contain everything from rock and pop to opera, musicals and classical music to jazz songs.

It’s new! It’s unique! It’s a premiere! And it’s all with Swedish overtones!

An extensive work has been carried out during the fall to find the right artists to fit this kind of concert where there’s a mix of genres”, says the producer Esbjörn Mårtensson and Josef Rhedin, conductor and musical director of the show.

“And we’re very happy to be able to present the artists who have said yes so far. It’s a joy to present:

The opera singer Erika Sunnegårdh, world famous soprano with a brilliant career ahead of her and a debut at the Metropolian behind her.

The musical star Helen Sjöholm, whose radiant career began in Malmö as the main character in Kristina från Duvemåla, the most coveted singer in Sweden, who this fall will play the main part in My Fair Lady at Oscars [theatre] in Stockholm, with a break to do the inaugurating of Malmö Arena.

The rock singer Sanne Salomonsen who once again is ready to enter the stage with her charismatic and striking rock voice.

The pop and country star Jill Johnson, popular singer and songwriter with lots of hits behind her.

The male quota is, so far, represented by the pop singer Andreas Johnson, who in 1999 had a mega success with his song Glorious. Andreas has had eminent placings in the Swedish Eurovision Song Contest twice, in 2006 with Sing For Me and in 2007 with A Little Bit Of Love. This year he participates again, this time together with Carola and they’re already now tipped to win with their song One Love.

The musical singer Fredrik Lycke, a singer who can take on most music genres brilliantly. He gives the audience a knock out wherever he is with his fantastic singing voice and makes success on the musical stages in Europe. Currently Fredrik plays for sold out houses at GöteborgsOperan in My Fair Lady as Higgins.

The musician and composer Kalle Moraeus, who with great playfulness has played his way into the hearts of the Swedish people. Kalle has been a member of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, is now a member of Orsa Spelmän and BAO and the rockband Hej Kalle. A genuine musician who besides his violin also handles rock and opera brilliantly.

The world artist, the ABBA member Benny Andersson, has agreed to write a small orchestra piece, which is something unique in itself. His work will be presented by the Symphony orchestra of the evening, the Malmö Symphonic Orchestra. They will be backed up by pop bands and a choir of hundreds of voices.

We’re also tremendously happy to present a popular actor and movie star, as well as a great expert on ‘schlager music’, the master of the ceremonies Björn Källman and the stage director, the opera singer, variety show star, actress and opera director Marianne Mörck.

Our goal is to present a bold, action-packed, rocky, pleasant sounding and enjoyable show. More artists to be announced.

 – Many thanks to Kristina for the translation

Malmö arena press release (in Swedish)

Benny in London

Tom Hanks and Playtone Productions partner, Gary Goetzman are of course responsible for teaming up with Littlestar to produce the Mamma Mia! movie.

Benny is pictured below with the Swedish girls vying for the part of Lady of the Lake in the West End’s Spamalot:

Benny even took time to pose with these ladies vying for the part of Lady of the Lake in London's Spamalot

ABBA member says he is no ‘Dancing Queen’

"Everytime we had a new song we used to take it and run down to one of the discos in Stockholm and play it at night to see if the mix was good or if we should go back and work on it," he said in an interview broadcast Tuesday on Spanish radio Cadena Ser.

"So we heard our music a lot in discos but that’s about it, I never dance, I’m sorry," he added when asked how he reacted when he hears the group’s hits such as "Dancing Queen" and "Mamma Mia". Andersson, 61, co-wrote the lyrics to Dancing Queen along with fellow ABBA member Bjorn Ulvaeus.

The song, which features a lead vocal performance by the band’s two female members, Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad, was released as a single in 1976 and went on to become ABBA’s biggest hit.

Despite having broken up a quarter of a century ago, ABBA still sells between two and three million albums a year. To date they have sold over 360 million albums, with only Elvis and the Beatles selling more.

Andersson is currently co-producing a film version of the "Mamma Mia!" musical, featuring many of their hits, which has been seen by 27 million people around the world since its premiere in London in 1999.

Yahoo Music

Benny discusses ABBA, Mamma Mia! and Eurovision

Benny Andersson, member of the Swedish group Abba said today that he was unsure "that the musical Mamma Mia reflects the spirit of Abba". The singer will today attend the opening of the show in Barcelona, in which he has written the music and lyrics together with his Abba colleague, Björn Ulvaeus. ‘Mamma Mia!’ tells a story through the songs of Abba. The dramatist Catherine Johnson wrote the text, for which explains Andersson "the music of Abba goes with the spirit of the story".

In an interview with Europa Press, Andersson indicated that he took on this project because "I cannot stop working with our music" even though at first he was a little resilient to the idea "I wanted to protect it because initially it was something big, but I became involved in the production so that I could give my own opinion". "Abba has a life without ‘Mamma Mia!’ but perhaps it is present because of the musical. However, many Abba songs deal with everyday themes such as love", said Andersson.

The songs that will be present in the musical are loyal to the original lyrics, only a few parts of ‘Chiquitita’, ‘Super’ and the last sentence of ‘Mamma Mia!’, the song that gives the musical its title "due to the relevance in the history of it". In this sense, Andersson says "Before the music was more important, now its the lyrics".

NO ABBA RETURN

The return of Abba to the stage is something that "is not going to happen", Andersson says confidently. The singer considers that "we are too old for pop music"

"Abba is something that I did more than 20 years ago" he said. Up to now, Andersson has published three solo albums in Swedish and his involvement in the musical has always been secondary to his music as opposed to Björn Ulvaeus.

He has also composed songs for theatre, cinema and even the Swedish National Anthem. In 2001 and 2002, the singer occupied the number 1 spot in the Swedish charts with "The Orchestra of Benny Andersson". Abba took part in the Eurovision Festival of 1973 with ‘Ring Ring’ which made it to third place. In 1974 they returned to Eurovision with ‘Waterloo’ which gave them the victory and international fame.

In this sense, Andersson with regards to the Eurovision Festival says that "It is too much. It is a fantastic format for television, but it is not good for music".

Oikotimes