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2018 proving popular for major CHESS productions

2018 proving popular for major CHESS productions

This year sees a host of new professional productions of the Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus and Tim Rice musical CHESS on both sides of the Atlantic. Ramin Karimloo and Ensemble in Chess. Photo by Teresa Wood. Washington D.C. In February, the Tony Award winning producer, Michael Meyer, presented a new semi-staged concert version of CHESS at the Kennedy Centre in Washington D.C., to open the theatre’s ‘Broadway Center Stage’ season of short-run shows. The five night only production which featured a revised book by Emmy Award winning writer, Danny Strong and a re-ordering of the musical’s songs, was staged with the full support of Benny, Björn and Tim Rice. “We have all been behind this production from the outset,” Benny told us. “Björn, Tim and my son Ludvig went over to meet with the producers last year and I met the musical director in London,” he said. The all-star…
Benny Andersson and Orsa Spelmän celebrate 30 year collaboration

Benny Andersson and Orsa Spelmän celebrate 30 year collaboration

On Sunday 18 June 2017, Benny Andersson and Orsa Spelmän marked the 30th anniversary of their musical partnership with an appearance as guest artists on the long-running Swedish television programme Moraeus med mera. Benny Andersson with Orsa Spelmän during the recording of the TV show 'Moraeus med mera' As in previous years, the filming took place in front of a live audience, under a big top tent on a lakeside campsite in Orsa. Benny Andersson and Orsa Spelmän rehearsing. With Benny joining them on accordion throughout, Orsa Spelmän  played three tracks; Monas vals, Underbart (which reached the semi-finals of Melodifestivalen in 2010)  and the traditional piece Rättvikarnas Gånglåt, on which they were joined by a 50 strong group of local folk musicians. Afterwards, Benny explained to icethesite why he had chosen that particular tune: “When I was just 19 or 20 years old and had my first flat in Stockholm,…
Benny Andersson on stage with folk group Systerpolskan

Benny Andersson on stage with folk group Systerpolskan

Benny and Systerpolskan on the Stallet stage Yesterday evening, Sunday 4 December, Benny joined the all-female folk group Systerpolskan for a one-off concert in Stockholm. The event was held at 'Stallet', a former stable which has been converted into Stockholm's only performance space dedicated to world folk music. With its beamed ceiling, white-washed stone walls and rug-strewn floor, the venue had a very relaxed and intimate feel. Seating for just 100 people was arranged around small candle-lit tables, as well as on wooden benches and bar stalls. The two hour gig ran without a break and Benny remained on stage throughout, accompanying the band of fiddlers and nykelharpa players on electric keyboard and accordion. Ida, Lena E, Benny, Cecilia, Erika, Cajsa and Lena W The set list showcased many of the tracks featured on the album Benny recorded with Systerpolskan earlier this year along with a couple of Swedish folk songs. When…
Benny Andersson to compose music for new Swedish play

Benny Andersson to compose music for new Swedish play

Benny Andersson will contribute a piece of music for the next production by acclaimed Swedish artist, playwright and director, Marie-Louise Ekman, Försökskaninerna. 'Försökskaninerna' premieres in March 2017 The play, which is the third in a trilogy of stagings which highlight issues relating to a mother's progressive ageing, will open at 'Dramaten', Stockholm's Royal Dramatic Theatre, in March 2017. Benny has worked extensively with Marie-Louise since she designed the artwork for his solo album November 1989. The pair have collaborated on a wide variety of TV, film and theatrical projects, including both previous instalments of the Försökskaninerna trilogy. Marie-Louise's artwork on Benny's November 1989 album. "I always say yes if she asks me," Benny told us. "She has a lot of artistic soul and her work is very, very original," he explained. For the forthcoming production Benny will write a song with lyrics by Marie-Louise. The last play featured purely instrumental music. Benny said: "The…
Benny and friends perform at Trondheim Orgelfest

Benny and friends perform at Trondheim Orgelfest

Benny and friends taking rapturous applause in Trondheim On Saturday 29 October, Benny Andersson, together with fiddlers from Orsa Spelmän and BAO members Göran Arnberg (keyboard) and Pär Grebacken (clarinet), joined the acclaimed organist Gunnar Idenstam and nyckelharpa player Johan Hedin, for a one-off concert at the 11th century Nidarosdomen, in Trondheim, Norway. The performance got underway at 8pm as Benny, playing accordion, led his fellow musicians in a processional up the candlelit aisle of the cathedral to take their place on 'stage' beneath the pipes of the magnificent Steinmeier organ. Benny Andersson with members of BAO and Orsa Spelmän in front of the Nidarosdomen Organ Although the 2 hour event ran without an interval, it was split into three distinct sections: The first five pieces performed were all Swedish folk tunes, including a beautiful and moving composition by 'Perra' Moraeus, Koppången and Benny's Machopolska. Benny and the fiddlers…