The more eagle-eyed among you will have noticed that a number of the last posts have been written by someone called “Anne”.
I am absolutely thrilled to say that after running icethesite single-handedly for 11 years and after contributing well over 1500 stories, Anne Yeatman is joining me to help share the load.
Some of you will already know Anne and will have met her at various Benny, Björn and ABBA related events over the years but for those that haven’t, here is a brief rundown of Anne’s ‘Benny & Björn credentials’ (so to speak!):
Anne’s passion for the music of Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus was ignited on 6 April 1974 when as a young girl she sat mesmerised in front of the television watching ABBA win the Eurovision Song Contest in Brighton. From that moment on, like many of us, she was hooked.
Anne takes up her story…
“I then joined the British ABBA Fan Club and spent every penny of pocket money on ABBA records. Year after year, Christmas stockings were filled with ABBA annuals, jigsaws and dolls.
“The highlights of my childhood memories were seeing ABBA live in concert at Wembley Arena in November 1979 and skiving off school to meet them for the first time when they attended the CBS sales conference in Bournemouth in September 1981.
“However, even then, my passion didn’t stop with ABBA. I was already delving into the musical background of each of the individual members. By the time I reached my teens I had all their pre-ABBA solo albums, and was fluent in Swedish lyrics!
“In the early 80s ABBA decided to “take a break” but my devotion didn’t wane. I met Frida for the second time at Abbacadabra in 1983 and followed both her and Agnetha’s solo career. As much as I enjoyed the solo works of both, they never quite filled the gap that ABBA had left. It was therefore with eager anticipation that I awaited the première of CHESS in 1986.
“The music was instantly recognisable as Benny and Björn’s and I loved it. I have subsequently seen both the 1990 and 1996 UK touring productions, Chess på Svenska in Stockholm in 2002, the Royal Albert Hall concerts of 2008 as well as Craig Revel Horwood’s recent staging.
Then one day it clicked, I understood it, and once I did there was no going back!
“Whilst I instantly loved CHESS, the intensity and emotion of Kristina från Duvemåla completely overwhelmed me…I don’t think it is possible to love a piece of music more.
“I have seen the Malmö, Stockholm and Helsinki productions several times, as well as the concert versions in Carnegie Hall, New York, and Royal Albert Hall, London. My CDs are ‘worn thin’, my Moberg novels loose in their spines.
“I have to admit that it took me longer to fully appreciate the folk music of Benny’s post-ABBA collaboration with the fiddlers from Orsa. However, as I listened, slowly but surely I began to hear more, feel more. Then one day it clicked, I understood it, and once I did there was no going back.
Almost forty years on, my passion remains as strong as ever. It is quite simply part of who I am!
“It was of course this collaboration with Orsa Spelmän that led on to the formation of Benny Anderssons Orkester. I have lost count how often I have seen BAO play, but it is always a pure joy. The eclectic mix of musical genres, the wonderful voices of Helen Sjöholm and Tommy Körberg combined with the band’s seemingly inexhaustible energy and enthusiasm is, for me, the ultimate live experience. Summer just isn’t Summer without a BAO concert!
“One of the highlights of my time following the music of Benny and Björn came just a couple of months ago when I was fortunate enough to be in Piteå in the north of Sweden, for a wonderful concert at the Acusticum. Benny’s En skrift i snön was absolutely perfect for the occasion (the inauguration of a new super organ) and I haven’t stopped humming it since! It was an evening I will never forget.
“I fell in love with ABBA as a child, (and of course, still can’t resist the magical allure of Dancing Queen or Mamma Mia) and while I have grown and matured, so has Benny and Björn’s music. Almost forty years on, my passion for their music remains as strong as ever. It is quite simply part of who I am!
“I am delighted to become a contributor to icethesite – it’s a fantastic resource and I’m thrilled that Ice thinks that I am up to the job of continuing the legacy. I hope to do the site and its visitors proud!”
Please join me in giving Anne a very warm welcome. Her help will, I’m quite sure, become invaluable and will enable the site to continue on into the future – bringing you all the best bits of news from the fabulous musical world of Benny and Björn.