Abba duo to collaborate on Pippi Longstocking circus show

The songwriting duo behind the Swedish pop group Abba is collaborating on a new circus show based on Sweden's other great cultural export, Pippi Longstocking.

Abba duo to collaborate on Pippi Longstocking circus show
Abba lyricist Björn Ulvaeus, together with Circus Cirkör Artistic Director Tilde Björfors, (left) and screenwriter Maria Blom (right).
Abba lyricist Björn Ulvaeus and Stockholm contemporary circus company Cirkus Cirkör on Friday announced 'Pippi at the Circus', a show that will combine song, dance and circus performance. 
At a press conference, Ulvaeus said that the show would include many of the most loved characters created by the children's authort Astrid Lindgren, with auditions for the role of Pippi herself expected to take place within weeks.
“Mrs Prysselius (Prussiluskan) will of course play a role and the police officers Kling and Klang of course,” Ulvaeus said, according to the Dagens Nyheter newspaper.  
Ulvaeus said that his old songwriting partner Benny Andersson planned to adapt Cirkus Finemang, an instrumental he wrote for his Benny Andersson Orchestra, and would also contribute some other tunes from his back catalogue.
“There will definitely be some new songs as well,” he promised. 
The show would follow a different plot to Astrid Lindgren's existing circus story, 'Pippi goes to the Circus', Ulvaeus said, with screenwriter Maria Blom hired to write a new script. 
Some of the characters from Lingdren's circus story, such as the strongman Starke Adolf (Strong Adolf) would make an appearance, however. 
Two years ago, Ulvaeus bought the Cirkus Stockholm building and its premises on Djurgården, the Stockholm island housing museums, the Skansen zoo, and the Gröna Lund funfair.  
He said he had developed the Pippi show as a way of using the circus space during the summer, when it has previously been closed. 

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ABBA’s first album in 40 years shoots to the top of the UK charts

ABBA's first studio album in nearly 40 years has made it to the top of the UK charts, becoming the fastest seller of the year so far, the Official Charts Company said on Friday.

ABBA's first album in 40 years shoots to the top of the UK charts
ABBA's new album, 'Voyage' for sale in Stockholm at the start of this month. Photo: Jonatan Nackstrand/AFP

“Voyage” by the Swedish quartet of Agnetha, Bjorn, Benny and Anni-Frid racked up 204,000 chart sales in the seven days since it was launched last Friday.

Sales gave the supergroup the biggest opening week on the UK album chart in four years since Ed Sheeran’s “Divide”, and fastest-selling album by a group in eight years.

The last fastest-seller was One Direction’s “Midnight Memories” in November 2013.

READ ALSO: Abba’s new album has arrived – tell us, what do you think?

ABBA, propelled to global fame by their 1974 Eurovision Song Contest win with “Waterloo”, split in 1982, a year after their last album, “The Visitors”.

“Voyage” is their 10th number one album in the UK: only seven other acts — The Beatles, Elvis Presley, the Rolling Stones, Robbie Williams, Madonna, Bruce Springsteen and David Bowie — have had more.

The group said in a statement: “We are so happy that our fans seem to have enjoyed our new album as much as we enjoyed making it.

“We are absolutely over the moon to have an album at the top of the charts again.”

The 204,000 sales comprise 90 percent physical copies, including 29,900 on vinyl, making it the fastest-selling vinyl release of the 21st century.

The previous record holder was the Arctic Monkeys’ “Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino”, which sold 24,500 vinyl copies in 2018.