Sunday, November 28

ABBA returns after 40 years with new album and virtual show on stage

Swedish supergroup ABBA will release their first new music in four decades in November, along with a concert where the “Supertrouper” will be digitized.

The next album “Voyage”, which will be released on November 5, is a continuation of “The Visitors” from 1981, which until now had been the swan song of the Swedish supergroup. And a virtual version of the band will begin a concert series in London on May 27.

“We took a break in the spring of 1982 and have now decided that it is time to finish,” ABBA said in a statement Thursday. “They say it’s foolhardy to wait more than 40 years between albums, so we’ve recorded a follow-up to ‘The Visitors.’

The group has been creating the live show with George Lucas’ special effects company, Industrial Light & Magic. They say that virtual versions of themselves are “weird and wonderful” and go beyond holograms.

“It was suggested to us that we could go on tour as a hologram. And this is now four, five years ago, “said Björn Ulvaeus, 76-year-old ABBA guitarist, backup singer and co-writer at a press conference on Thursday.” And we found out very early that that wasn’t even possible. because holograms are an old technology, but I mean, the vision was there to have our digital selves, which was even a possibility. “

“And also,” said Benny Andersson, 74, who plays keyboards, sings and writes songs with Ulvaeus, “we wanted to do it before we died.”

Ulvaeus added, “It’s good if you do it before you die. Because then it becomes more precise. “

They sang and played together for hours every day for weeks, using motion capture and other techniques to create the show of 22 songs and roughly 90 minutes.

“We wear leggings with dots or little things,” Ulvaeus said. “And we had stitches on our faces and helmets with cameras. And there we were, the four of us on stage together doing these songs. “

They say it was hard work but great pleasure, but on the one hand.

“I’d say the only big problem was that we had to shave our beards,” Andersson said. “I have had my beard for 50 years.”

The planned program spurred the making of the album, which features the new songs “I Still Have Faith In You” and “Don’t Shut Me Down.” It began with sessions in 2018 and was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.

“It was very happy to be in the studio together again, all four of us,” Andersson said. “

The show will come 50 years after the founding of the group that consisted of two married couples for most of its existence, and whose name is an acronym for the first names of its members, Agnetha Fältskog, 71, Anni-Frid Lyngstad , 75, Ulvaeus and Andersson.

Their music has remained ubiquitous in the decades since their breakup, thanks to the impetus of the stage musical “Mamma Mia!” and the two films that followed.

They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010.

Last week, the group launched a website with the title “ABBA Voyage”, prompting the new announcement. Tickets go on sale Tuesday, September 7.

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