One of the many consequences of over thirty years of being an ABBA fandom is that I have also come to know and love some other Swedish arts. As many of them perform in both Swedish and English, I have also gained some knowledge of the Swedish language. I’ve been listening to a few of my favourite Swedes lately, including…
Nanne Gronvall: Nanne is the daughter-in-law of former ABBA member, Benny Anderson. A combination of Tina Turner, Nina Hagen, and just about every other iconic female pop singer you could possibly imagine, she’s a great all-rounder. I thought her best performance was the song “Hall Om Mig” which was a finalist for Sweden’s entry in the 2005 Eurovision Song Contest and which has become one of those “You Tube” phenomenons where people have added their own visuals to the song.
Bimbo Boy: Bimbo Boy was also an entrant in Melodifestivalen, the Swedish finals for the 2005 Eurovision Song Contest. I have this feeling that Bimbo Boy’s mother may have been a Swedish backpacker who visited Australia in about 1983 or 1984. I have this feeling she, whilst pregnamt, may have gone clubbing together in Brisbane at “The Terminus” or “The Zoo”. There could be no other possible reason why someone born in Sweden in 1984 could have such an interest in the music I associate with my late teens and early twneties. Clearly, it’s the music he heard in his mother’s womb! In 1984, I was living in Brisbane, starting to go out to club, and developing a taste in dance music. Drawing heavily upon the musical influences of people like Sylvester and The Pet Shop Boys, it was the early days of Italo disco. The dance moves weren’t all that sophisticated, but “we had fun”, as Richard Branson once declared about the early days of Virgin Music. I first discovered the music of Dennis Svedberg Hellström (Bimbo Boy) about twelve months ago or so, thanks to Last FM. I now see that some of his songs are available on youtube, including Drama Queen.
Peter Joback: I first became aware of Peter’s work through the Bjorn-Benny musical, “Kristina Fran Duvemala”. Since then I’ve followed his explorations into pop and back to musical theatre. He has a lovely voice (and he’s quite spunky!).
BWO: I was surprised when having a drink at “The Midnight Shift” a few weeks ago not to see Peter Joback (though that wouldn’t have been out of the question) but to hear and see Bodies Without Organs, commonly shortened to BWO, being played on the big screen. BWO were finalists in Melodifestivalen last year, and thanks to my friend Pat from Popgoescanberra I’ve come to know and love their bright, happy, melodic pop music, especially their latest song Chariots Of Fire. One of the people in the band, Alexander Bard, was also a member of 1990s Swedish group, “Army Of Lovers” (who had a hit in Australia with Crucified) and who made a cameo in the video clip for “Crying At The Discoteque” by Alcazar.
Kent: I’ve come to know their music thanks to my friend Yvette who lived in Sweden for a while and brought back one of their CDs and thanks to my friend Paul who is a big fan of their work. They’re a bit like U2 in some ways, but not really. One of their songs, Kärleken Väntar. samples one of my all-time-favourites from the 1980s “Fade To Gray” by Visage. I also really like the video, though it’s a bit naughty for Kärleken Väntar, and there’s also the Kent vs Visage version too.
There are heaps of other Swedes I like and I’m sure I’ll write about them some day, but these are the ones I’ve been listening to lately. And I didn’t even mention Alcazar who deserve a post all of their own!