Film celebrating 30 years of Benny Andersson and Orsa Spelmän to premiere soon

Published February 28, 2018

Last week I had the privilege of attending a preview of Anders Hanser's upcoming film, Benny Andersson & Orsa spelmän 30 år tillsammans ("Benny Andersson & Orsa Spelmän 30 Years Together").

Photographer Anders Hanser, with whom I did the book From ABBA To Mamma Mia!, was the man who introduced Benny to this group of fiddlers back in the mid-1980s, leading to their appearance on Benny's first solo album, Klinga mina klockor ("Ring, My Bells", 1987). Since then the Orsa Spelmän members have become a part of Benny Anderssons Orkester, and band member Kalle Moraeus has emerged as a very popular performer and TV personality in his own right. In the international ABBA fan community, there is a section that is particularly interested in this part of Benny's post-ABBA activities.

The film features plenty of rare footage and, apart from covering the collaboration between Benny and Orsa Spelmän, it also traces the fascinating story of how the Swedish folk music indigenous to the county of Dalarna (Dalecarlia) has been kept alive, in no small part thanks to Orsa Spelmän and the members' ancestors. The band is interviewed in the film, of course, as is Benny himself.

The film will receive its official premiere at the Röda Kvarn cinema in the town of Orsa on 18 March (click here for the poster/ad). It seems there will be a screening in Stockholm on 14 March as well. No doubt it will be shown elsewhere throughout the year.

Those ABBA essays...

Published February 23, 2018

As I'm typing this, it's almost exactly a year since the printing presses started churning out physical copies of my book ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions. Looking back at the extraordinary 12 months since then, one of my proudest achievements in the book are the five essays describing how the ABBA songs came into life, from "Writing the tunes" to "Overdubbing and mixing". Judging by the feedback, they've been appreciated by readers as well.

Those extensive essays were by far the most complicated things to tackle in the book. I remember when I was going to put together the first of them, "Writing the tunes", and thinking to myself, "Oh, this will take no more than two or three days". Two weeks later the darned thing was finally completed. That's pretty much how it turned out with all the essays.

The problem was that I had collected so much information - from my own interviews, as well as other books and newspaper and magazine stories - and the whole point was to give the reader as many details as possible. The challenge, then, was to include all that information, and still make the essay readable. The pages you see in the illustration come from the documents I put together with all the info, from which I then pieced together the essays. It wasn't easy, but, even if I say so myself, it was worth the effort.

Curious about the book featuring these essays? Then please go to abbathecompleterecordingsessions.com to find out more and to order your copy.


Wellander and Schaffer together onstage

Published February 05, 2018

Here's something you don't see very often: ABBA's two main session guitarists, Lasse Wellander and Janne Schaffer, playing together onstage. As many fans will know, between them there are very few ABBA recordings with guitar-playing that don't feature either Wellander or Schaffer.

Tonight, just a few hours ago, they both performed two Wellander compositions when Lasse received the Studioräven ("The Studio Fox") award. In Swedish, a "studioräv" is "a session musician who's been around for many years and has done innumerable sessions". The prize is awarded every year by the Swedish Musicians' Union, and this year Lasse was one of the recipients.

And the saxophonist? You guessed it: Ulf Andersson, of I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do fame - plus, of course, he toured with ABBA in 1977.

A fun and memorable night, and a fitting tribute to the musicians who helped Swedish recordings sound great.

Read all about Wellander, Schaffer and Andersson's exploits on the ABBA sessions in ABBA - The Complete Recording Sesssions: abbathecompleterecordingsessions.com