Eine Kleine Nichtmusik

Witty and pertinent observations on matters of great significance OR Incoherent jottings on total irrelevancies OR Something else altogether OR All of the above

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Big In Sweden

I hadn't realised it had been so long since I posted. Oops.

Let's start with some music videos - they usually go down well. For all those of you who wondered what Abba's Benny Andersson was doing these days (apart from doing the arrangements for Mamma Mia! and appearing in the film playing his piano), I give you: Benny Anderssons Orkester, an eclectic bunch held together by Benny's compositional skills and their own considerable talents.

Benny is as likely to be seen playing accordion as piano. Or even, it would appear, ukelele:

Here they are with their biggest hit Du Är Min Man:

And here they are with a recording of a song planned for Abba'a Voulez-Vous album but not finished in time. Time Warp time:

Before BAO, Benny and his Abba writing partner (should that be coll-Abba-rator?) Bjorn wrote a musical. No, not Chess (their collaboration with Tim Rice) though you might like to see the Swedish version of I Know Him So Well (translation on the Youtube page). I haven't seen Chess but comparing this with the English versions I've heard (and comparing the lyrics) it would see to be less wistful and more angry.

No, the one I had in mind is Kristina Från Duvemåla, which is pretty much unknown outside Scandinavia as it's only recently been translated into English and has yet to be performed in it. It is, however, a huge hit in Sweden and places where they can cope with the language. For example, here is part of a performance from Minnesota (sung once again by Helen Sjöholm):

Here's another song from the musical (there's only a short clip available from the Minnesota show so this is from a Swedish TV programme):

Here's a trailer for the full musical (audio and stills):

Oh, and if you'd like to see what he was doing in the days before Abba was thought of, here he is in the Hep Stars in the late 1960s.


At 01 March, 2009 14:32, Anonymous Phil said...

I detest "I know him so well", partly because of its earwormy catchiness but mainly because of the lyrics, which take male fantasy to new heights - the wife and the mistress finally meet and they end up agreeing about how great he is? So Jag vet vad han vill was a revelation - that's a proper song (and a psychologically credible setup). We (well, I) used to have a running joke about how you could tell the song was translated from the Swedish just by listening to Elaine Paige and Barbara Dickson's enunciation - "Baaaht EEN the end hee NEEDS a leedle beet morr than beeFORRR..." - but I think the joke's on me; to my mind they fell far short of the Swedes.

At 01 March, 2009 23:24, Blogger Rob said...

It seems from Wikipedia that the Swedish version is the most recent. It sounds rather as though Benny and Bjorn got fed up with having a new plot made up for every new production, and felt they might as well go back to basics and do the job themselves. The Swedish production is available on DVD, though I should warn you it doesn't have subtitles. I've ordered it nevertheless, as it's under £12 and has free UK delivery (from an Estonian site!) I figure one can pick up a lot from the acting and the body language (and from all those other plot variants). Beyond that, well, maybe it will be the necessary spur to get me to learn Swedish properly. (I listen to a lot of other Swedish folk and pop so it was only a matter of time.)

At 01 March, 2009 23:31, Blogger Rob said...

And as for the "earwormy catchiness", I don't have a problem with that. It always seemed to me to be (in its intertwining of two female vocal lines) the Abba Song That Never Was.

At 02 March, 2009 16:48, Blogger JoeinVegas said...

Learn Swedish?

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