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Toasting the music and magic of ABBA

ABBA-Cadabra in town for two shows for arts fundraiser



By Nicole Fitzgerald

What: ABBA-Cadabra

When: Saturday, Nov. 11, 3 & 7 p.m.

Where: MY Millennium Place

Tickets: $50, $44, $17, $10

Every year Andre St. Jacques of the Bearfoot Bistro brings in a world-class show to the infamous Masquerave party as part of the Cornucopia food and wine festival. And every year he pays the group to perform additional shows for children and families, donating ticket proceeds to a local organization.

Last year it was Cirque du Soleil performers, this year it’s the internationally renowned ABBA-Cadabra tribute band coming to Whistler on Saturday, Nov. 11 at 3 and 7 p.m., with proceeds benefiting MY Millennium Place and the Whistler Arts Council.

The Vancouver tribute band pays homage rather than impersonates the global music sensation; bringing listeners back to the days of Dancing Queen, Mama Mia and Take a Chance on Me with tight harmonies, high-energy choreography and nostalgic costumes.

“The music seems to bring people back to different memories; different points of their life,” recounts performer Jeanette O’Keeffe. “This is great music that we want to keep alive.”

The last time ABBA performed live as a group was in January 1986, singing on a Swedish TV show. The group reportedly turned down a tour offer of $1 billion in 2000. O’Keeffe attributed the band’s retirement to Anna Frida’s withdrawal from society.

“She refuses to pose for a picture for the group, let alone be on stage with them,” O’Keeffe said, adding Frida didn’t even show up for the opening night of the musical tribute Mama Mia! on Broadway. “She is a recluse, living on her own island in Sweden.”

O’Keeffe is full of fabulous ABBA facts: ABBA was honoured with an award from Universal Music and Polar Music for selling 360 million records worldwide between 1974 and 2004; the group was inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame, but was turned down as nominees for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; The hit Knowing Me Knowing You was written to reflect the turmoil of both ABBA couples’ marriages breaking up and two Swedish stamps pay tribute to the band by depicting them.

“I wanted to know more about them than just their music,” O’Keeffe said. “We like to share tidbits of information about them with our audiences.”

Audiences young and old come out for favourites such as S.O.S. and Voulez Vous. The ABBA-Cadabra quartet has taken the timeless music around the world, including performances at Universal Studios Florida and Malaysia with private shows for the King and Queen.

“It’s amazing their music has such staying power when they aren’t even touring or putting out new music,” O’Keeffe said. “We just wanted to create a show around the favourite music we all grew up listening to.”

The Retro Party Saturday at MY Millennium Place invites ABBA fans to dress disco for the concert and there will be a Flashback costume competition with prizes awarded to best dressed.

Tickets for the 3 p.m. matinee are $17 for adults and $10 for children. Tickets for the 7 p.m. evening show are $49.50 for adults and $43.50 for students/seniors.

ABBA-Cadabra also performs at the Moulin-Rouge-theme party Masquerave on Friday. Nov. 10 at the Bearfoot Bistro. Tickets are $250.

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