Swedish pop icons Abba have announced their long-anticipated reunion today (September 2), after almost 40 years apart.
Following the announcement this evening in London, the group – made up of Benny Andersson, Anni-Frid (Frida) Lyngstad, Agnetha Fälskog and Björn Ulvaeus also unveiled two new singles: “I Still Have Faith In You” and “Don’t Shut Me Down”.
Both songs will appear on their forthcoming, 10-track album, Voyage. The album, which will be the group’s first studio album since “The Visitors”, will be released on 5 November 2021 via Polydor/Universal Music.
Abba also announced details of a state-of-the-art virtual concert series in which all four members of the band will appear on stage digitally. The group will appear with a live 10-piece band, in a purpose-built arena in London from 27 May 2022.
The group teamed up with the Star Wars creator George Lucas’s studio to develop digital representations of themselves using this first-of-a-kind, “revolutionary” technology. A preview of what the digital versions of Abba look like can be seen in the accompanying video for “I Still Have Faith In You”.
The avatars were created following weeks of motion-capture and performance techniques with the four band members and an 850-strong team from Industrial Light & Magic, the company founded by Lucas, in what is the company’s first foray into music.
The group began work on the concert first, before finding themselves back in the studio in Stockholm recording new music soon after. The group worked together at Andersson’s studio, Riksmixningsverket, in Stockholm, Sweden.
The concert will open at the Abba Arena, a state-of-the-art 3,000-capacity arena located at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London.
Pre-registration for tickets opens at 6pm tonight here with tickets on general sale from Tuesday 7 September.
Tickets for Abba Voyage are available from 10am on Sunday 5 September for fans who have pre-ordered the album from the official Abba store, and from 10am on Monday 6 September for those who have pre-registered. The general sale commences 10am Tuesday 7 September.
Speaking about the reunion, ABBA said in a statement: “It’s been a while since we made music together. Almost 40 years, actually. We took a break in the spring of 1982 and now we’ve decided it’s time to end it. They say it’s foolhardy to wait more than 40 years between albums, so we’ve recorded a follow-up to “The Visitors”.
“To tell the truth, the main inspiration to record again comes from our involvement in creating the strangest and most spectacular concert you could ever dream of. We’re going to be able to sit back in an audience and watch our digital selves perform our songs on a stage in a custom-built arena in London next spring. Weird and wonderful!
“To all of you who patiently have followed us in some way or another these past decades: Thank you for waiting – it’s time for a new journey to begin.”
Abba’s last studio album was released in 1981 while their last new music came in the form of the 1982 single, “Under Attack”. Three previously unreleased songs were made public a decade later in 1993 and 1994. The band shot to international fame in 1974 after representing Sweden in the Eurovision Song Contest with the track “Waterloo”.
The group won – the first Scandinavian act to do so – after performing the winning song on stage at the event in Brighton. They subsequently went on to become one of the most popular recording acts of all time and have sold over 400 million albums worldwide to date.
At the peak of their fame, Abba consisted of two married couples, but both relationships broke down during their time as a group.
The reunion was first mentioned by born in May 2020 by Ulvaeus. He said at the time: “It took half a minute and somehow we were back in time like we had been there yesterday as well. It was so strange. That feeling between us was extraordinary.”