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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Classic ABBA tunes live on live thanks to Direct from Sweden

Much like the Beatles, the music of ABBA continues to be embraced even though the group is no longer active and is well more than a generation removed from its prime.

There are a plethora of ABBA cover acts, such as Direct from Sweden: The Music of Abba, that continue to perform the act’s classic tunes.

“There is nothing like ABBA’s music,” Direct from Sweden vocalist Jenny Tarneberg said while calling from Stockholm. “It’s so emotional and powerful.”

The most difficult part of the Direct from Sweden gig is assembling a set list. The amount of ABBA hits is seemingly endless.

“It’s very hard to choose from the biggest hits since there are so many,” Tarneberg said. “There are certain songs that have to be part of the show, like ‘Mamma Mia.’ When we perform that song the audience goes crazy. We play the biggest ABBA hits and more. We help take the audience back to another time.”

Tarneberg, 46, was just 5-years-old when ABBA broke up in 1982.

“But I heard their songs all the time when I was a kid since my mother and father had all of their records,” Tarneberg said. “I remember looking at the covers of their albums and playing their songs. They were huge stars in Sweden. I loved what they created and I sang their songs as a child.”

Tarneberg never would have guessed that she would belt out ABBA anthems on stage internationally with Direct from Sweden, which will perform Friday at Northern Quest Resort & Casino.

“It’s amazing,” Tarneberg said. “I love these songs. I’m very proud to come to America and sing ABBA songs. There is no group quite like them.”

That’s not hyperbole since ABBA was the most commercially successful pop group of the ’70s. “Take a Chance on Me,” “Waterloo,” “Fernando,” “Take a Chance on Me,” “Dancing Queen” and “The Winner Takes All” are just a few of their chart-toppers.

“It’s hard to believe how many great songs ABBA created,” Tarneberg said. “There is no group quite like them.”

Tarneberg was shocked, like the rest of the music world, when ABBA reunited in 2018 and released new material. “It was such a surprise,” Tarneberg said. “No one ever thought that would happen and that (ABBA resurfacing) was the biggest thing in the world.”

However, the reunion was short-lived. The members of the iconic quartet announced in 2022 that the group was finished and would never reunite again. However, ABBA cover bands continue to tour.

“People want to hear ABBA songs live,” Tarneberg said. “So we go out and perform those ABBA songs that fans love and that we love.”