Bjorn Ulvaeus: “I have become more radical”
The star of the new show, politics and ABBA’s come back.
The musical is still playing in London – 16 years after the premiere. The film was a huge success. Now comes the after party. “Mamma mia! – The party “.
– I immediately loved the idea. There is such a party atmosphere in the audience at the end of the musical. Now people go on to a party in the same spirit, says Björn Ulvaeus.
On 20 January it will premier at Tyrol in Stockholm.
– It has nothing to do with the film’s plot. It’s not about the characters. Only the environment, says Bjorn Ulvaeus, 70. We are on Skopelos, where the movie was filmed. Nikos and his wife run a tavern and you notice what’s happening on the island and it is because of “Mamma Mia!”. They get the idea to run the party nights to take advantage of the boom.
More of a dinner show.
Roine Söderlund and Mats Ahldén Eventum came up with a proposal three years ago. Then Bjorn Ulvaeus wrote the screenplay along with Calle Norlén and Roine Söderlundh.
– I have heard of women who have Mamma mia evenings drinking wine, Björn Ulvaeus says. It was fun to take the world to a restaurant with a story that takes place in real time. It is more than a dinner show.
Was it fun to introduce new ABBA songs into the plot?
– Yes. We tell the story in the same manner as in the musical. The lyrics carry the story. 60 per cent are songs are not in “Mamma Mia”.
Have you translated the texts into Swedish?
– No, on the other hand, we translate the Swedish dialogue into English. From 1 May for all Eurovision visitors in town. Even in summer we’ll play both in Swedish and English. Depending on how the audience looks every night.
“It’s completely transformed”
In the cast are veterans Anki Albertsson, Sussie Eriksson and Michalis Koutsogiannakis.
– We have high ambitions, and you’ll see that Grona Lund have gone all in, says Björn Ulvaeus. Tyrol is totally transformed. It is their attraction for years.
How long do you plan for it to last?
– A year, I would think, but we are betting that it will become permanent. It was a million Swedes saw “Mamma Mia!” At the Circus. Here it goes into 450 people every night.
However, this is an expensive experience.
– Yes, it costs 1340 crowns, but then you get all in one. The whole experience and a great meal and it does not stop at 23, but continues with disco.
Is there any ABBA lyrics that evoke personal memories?
– Such things I wanted to change? Yes, but I’m not going to give a few examples.
I mean if songs like “The winner takes it all” based on your own feelings?
– There are certainly many such songs. ABBA lyrics are more fiction than reality, but often rooted in real experiences.
– “Our Last Summer” is about when I was 18 years old and in love with a girl from Västervik who worked as an au pair in Paris. I went there, Björn Ulvaeus says. “The winner takes it all” is not about Agnetha and my divorce, but it is rooted therein. To put themselves into someone’s losers on such an occasion. What none of us were. “Knowing Me, Knowing You” is a typical example, like “When all is said and done” Frida sings.
Friends 50 years
In June 2016 is the 50th anniversary of when Benny and you met and became friends.
– I have a vague memory of the hotel, the Hep Stars came late at night. I have a picture of the two of us under a tree in the park. After 50 years you do not know what is true.
They became friends, started going to clubs in Stockholm. Benny asked if Björn could jump into a Hep Stars tour in December 1966. They became songwriters for others, and producers of Stig Anderson. Next ABBA. obviously world fame and more success and appreciation.
– That is not humility, it is the closest to unintelligent. I’m in a tremendously privileged situation, there is no obvious, says Björn Ulvaeus. I do not understand those who think they are God’s gift to humanity. I’ve never understood it.
Agnetha, Frida, Benny and you still have contact to manage the legacy of ABBA. Like the project “Mamma Mia the party”?
– Absolutely. I would not dream of doing it without their support.
Do you get a lot of requests?
– We can recieve lots of junk (requests) emails. Someone says no, it is no. We have mostly email contact Björn Ulvaeus says. But we met all four of us at Skeppsholmen for a year and a half ago when it was the 40th anniversary. Then we sat and joked for a long time if we could do something together. No, we would not.
What is your title in a phone nowadays? Not a musician ?
– No, musicians, I have never been. I’m not an artist … what the hell am I? Contractors in different contexts. Popular culture Entrepreneur.
Bjorn Ulvaeus is a partner in the construction company, ALM Equity engaged in building housing for young people, including at Telefonplan in Stockholm. Interviewed atheist advocate.
He also runs the Pop hotel at the ABBA museum.
And tested recently at a new job.
– I was the interviewer – it was the first time. I have been interviewed since I was 18, but never sat on the other side. I asked questions to Richard Dawkins audience.
How did it go?
– It was a blast. I was genuinely interested to hear the answers. It was chock-full of audience at the Circus, interested in science, you can imagine. There is hope for humanity.
“Kristina” is very much about faith. Did the work start your interest in religion and humanism?
– I have been fascinated by religion long as the phenomenon. When you do not believe yourself if you want to understand why. With the September 11, 2001 I became really intrigued – what is happening?
“I have become more radical”
Have you changed opinions over the years?
– I have become more radical.
Changed your political position?
– I have for some time been a social liberal. Can not say a particular party. But radical in other ways. I’m so impatient that the equality between man and woman should take so long and that wages are falling behind. It is inconceivable.
There seems Benny and you can be on the same wavelength.
– Absolutely. I think we are quite similar. Equality requirement, we share really.
Working with Benny Andersson again:
By summer, it’s time for a new tour with Benny Andersson Orchestra. Björn Ulvaeus has written lyrics for most of the orchestra’s songs through the years. Including evergreen crowd favorites like “You are my man,” “Our last dance” and “Dear Sister”.
This spring a new disc.
– Benny has showered me with songs to write lyrics to. It’s really fun. Damn good songs. It is wonderful to write the lyrics.
Bjorn Ulvaeus waiting with some of the goodies.
– I saved a number of them to take to the Caribbean with my wife for ten days. To sit and write lyrics in a palm shade is ideal. It is she and I and lazy days. To sit there with headphones and writing is absolutely perfect for me.”I Can continue until I fall off the chair”
It is never difficult to think of ideas?
– Sometimes, but surprisingly often something turns up in your head. I have learned that one should take advantage of such vagaries. You should trust your intuition.
What texts are you most proud of?
– Next Kristina think I was good. Many texts of the BAO has been successful. But no, I doubt put in front of someone else.
Then you become better with age?
– And feel just as much pleasure in writing. The audience may become less and less, but this can I get involved with until I fall off the chair.