Are not the English fortunate? Wherever they travel in the world, they can be sure to find people interested in their royal family, in the premier league or in any of their pop stars, from the Beatles up to last week’s charts.
Now, imagine how different things are for us Swedes. Nobody outside Scandinavia knows much about our royalties and not even Norwegians and Danes care about allsvenskan, our top football league. So do not be surprised if we are a bit obsessed with those of our musicians who have an international reputation. Since I come from the Swedish town Halmstad, I maybe ought to claim that Roxette is our most famous pop group, but no: ABBA is the unchallenged number one.
The ABBA members have given us more than dance music. They have fallen in love, they have got married and then they have divorced. Some of the members have withdrawn from public life while others have had commercial successes. I admit that they are far behind Prince Charles, but still today do they give us things to talk about.
With that in mind, it is not surprising that we were 46 expat Swedes who had accepted the proposal by the SWEA choir and the Swedish-Spanish Chamber of Commerce to go and watch Mamma Mia! tonight. The two ABBA men Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, have been involved in making this musical, so it goes without saying that we can not let the Catalans know more about a Swedish contribution to world culture than we know ourselves.
And not only patriotism made us like the show. While we seemed to agree that some of the singers were a bit weak, we thought that the lighting on the scenography, the choreography and, most importantly, the total atmosphere met high standards.
Since we have grown up with the original ABBA versions of the songs, most of us would have preferred to see the show in English. However, as an alternative, Spanish is a beautiful language for singing: “Quizás bailemos un rato, con cuidado, chato...”