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Mamma Mia, there they go again: ABBA reveal studio return and new songs

© Peter Mazel/Sunshine/ShutterstocABBA.
ABBA.

Abba have recorded five new songs in preparation for a tour featuring their holograms next year, the superstar Swedes have revealed.

The band also said their classic hits might not sound quite the same – as their female vocalists now sing at a lower pitch.

Bjorn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, Agnetha Faltskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad were reunited in the studio to record the new songs ahead of their “Abbatar tour”.

Rather than appearing on stage themselves, computer-generated holograms will perform old material – and a couple of the new songs. Ageing vocal cords mean that the Swedish band’s female vocalists now sing at a lower pitch than they did in their 1970s heyday.

But songwriter Ulvaeus said the four band members had no problems recreating the chemistry that made them so popular.

The tracks are the first new material they have recorded in nearly 40 years, but Ulvaeus said they have remained true to their distinctive sound.

He told The Times that Faltskog and Lyngstad were singing a little lower: “Their voices are about one tone lower, perhaps. It still sounds very much Abba.”

Abba shot to fame with the song Waterloo at the Eurovision Song Contest in 1974. They went on to have a string of hits including Dancing Queen and Knowing Me, Knowing You, and have retained a devoted following despite splitting in 1983. The musical Mamma Mia! also brought them a new generation of fans.

All four remained close, even though their marriages – Ulvaeus had been married to Faltskog and Andersson to Lyngstad – ended in the 1980s. “We are really good friends and we see each other quite often,” said Ulvaeus, now 75. “Being together in the studio again, it was so familiar. It all came rushing back in seconds. We had fun. You have to have fun.”

At least two of the new songs will feature in their tour which was pushed back a year because of the pandemic but the delay allowed more work to go into creating the futuristic holograms which will appear on stage.

Each band member was photographed from “all possible angles” and had their heads measured and dots painted on their faces to make the holograms dubbed “Abbatars”.