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.
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.
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, I used to play Rättvikarnas Gånglåt on a small plastic gramophone first thing every morning, day in-day out,” he said. “It’s wonderfully uplifting music…but not very rock’n’roll!”
Moraeus med mera is hosted by Orsa Spelmän founding member, Kalle Moraeus and Benny can still recall the occasion when he and Kalle first met in 1986:
“We were celebrating photographer Anders Hanser’s 40th birthday here in Dalarna,” he said. “Anders and Kalle were old friends and Kalle had brought his fiddle along to the party.
“We played a few tunes together and I asked him if he had any pals that would like to be on my next record.”
When the pair met up again the following year, they were joined by Kalle’s brothers, Per-Erik (Perra) and Olle Moraeus along with Nils-Erik (Nicke) Göthe and Leif Göras.
“When they took out their fiddles and played the first few bars of some tunes I had sent them, it was such an incredible feeling. A magical moment I shall never forget,” Benny said. “It was as if they had given my music life.”
After involvement in Benny’s Klinga mina klockor and November 1989 solo albums, Orsa Spelmän went from strength to strength, recording several albums of their own and performing at many prestigious events around Sweden.
And of course, perhaps most significantly, it was the Benny Andersson/Orsa Spelmän union which in 2001 formed the basis of a new Swedish dance band, Benny Anderssons Orkester.
In 2010 the group joined Benny on the specially commissioned Benny Andersson/Kristina Lugn song Vilar glad. I din famn, during the royal wedding of Crown Princess Victoria.
The inauguration of the magnificent Piteå organ in 2012 and the Trondheim Orgelfest last October saw ‘Benny and his fiddlers’, as they are now often affectionately referred, join forces for very occasional concerts.
Benny told us that he has so many happy memories from working with Orsa Spelmän over the past 30 years, however, there is one occasion that truly stands out for him:
“Bringing them to the UK to play old Swedish folk tunes in front of 50,000 people at the Thank You For The Music concert in Hyde Park was a once in a lifetime event,” he said. “It was such an overwhelming experience and I am so happy that we were able to do that.”
Sunday’s recording of Moraeus med mera, which also featured Lisa Miskovsky, girl duo Good Harvest and hip-hop star Linda Pira, is scheduled to be broadcast on SVT in the autumn.