ABBA announce virtual concert and first studio album in nearly 40 years

2 September 2021, 18:08 | Updated: 2 September 2021, 20:52

Members of the Swedish group ABBA are seen on a display during their Voyage event
Members of the Swedish group ABBA are seen on a display during their Voyage event. Picture: Getty

By Elizabeth Haigh

ABBA have announced the release of a new album called Voyage and a concert show featuring digital versions of themselves, over three decades after splitting up in 1982.

Abba Voyage will be released in November, before a "revolutionary" set of concerts where virtual avatars will play hits like Mamma Mia and Waterloo.

Speaking during a livestreamed press conference from the top of the Orbit sculpture at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in east London, band members Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson said both projects would be called Abba Voyage.

Attending in person, Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson told how the album had emerged after the quartet reunited to film the digital concert.

Two new tracks, I Still Have Faith In You and Don't Shut Me Down, were also played publicly for the first time during the event.

The album will consist entirely of new material recorded by the quartet.

After splitting up in 1982, the band created social media pages last month entitled "ABBA Voyage", informing fans that the band would be announcing something on September 2.

ABBA Voyage tweeted: "We are so excited to share the future of with you today."

They added: "The journey is about to begin."

The group, made up of Agnetha Fältskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, and Anni-Frid Lyngstad, was founded in 1972.

The name is an acronym of their first names.

ABBA dominated European charts in the 1970s with hits including Waterloo, Mamma Mia and Dancing Queen. The group is one of the best-selling artists ever, with an estimated 150 million record sales.

In 1974, ABBA were Sweden's first ever Eurovision winners, taking the title with a performance of their hit song Waterloo.

The group released eight albums between 1973 and 1981, and had eight number one singles in the UK.

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ABBA topped charts across Europe during the 1970s and early 1980s.
ABBA topped charts across Europe during the 1970s and early 1980s. Picture: Alamy

Their albums won numerous awards around Europe, enjoying particular success at the Bravo Otto awards, winning nine between 1974 and 1982.

Their last album of new material, titled The Visitors, was released in November 1981.

The group split up in 1982 on a temporary break after enjoying huge fame and success around the world. As of yet they have not since reunited.

Originally, the band was made up of two married couples, Fältskog and Ulvaeus and Andersson and Lyngstad. However, both marriages eventually ended while the band were still together.

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In 1999, ABBA's music was adapted into the musical Mamma Mia!, which received worldwide acclaim. A sequel was released in 2018, Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again!

In the same year, 2018, ABBA announced that they had recorded two new songs over three decades after splitting up.

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Ulvaeus explained the meaning behind new song I Still Have Faith In You, saying: "It is about realising it is inconceivable to be where we are. No imagination can dream up that.

"To release an album after 40 years and still be the best of friends and enjoying each other's company and still have total loyalty. Who has experienced that? Nobody."

Andersson said the band had chosen to host their digital concert in a purpose built site in east London because it is "the best city to be in".

He added: "When it comes to entertainment - theatre, musicals, concerts - it is all here. It has been here for years and years and years. There is a big audience travelling here for that reason. It was a no-brainer."