Few bands have withstood the test of time with the strength of ABBA. The music of this Swedish pop band has withstood multiple genre changes in radio based on their focus of catchy melodies and fine crafting of songs. The band received international stardom during a time when music stardom was earned through huge record sales (the band has sold more than 375 million in albums and singles) and sold out tours. For those unable to experience the live excitement of the group, ABBARAMA is now making this dream a reality. Billed as the Modern ABBA Experience, ABBARAMA has quickly become the preeminent performing group of its kind; in no small part because of the incredible talent it possesses. With music industry notables KII Arens (lady Gaga, Katy Perry) and music producer Greg Collins (U2, Gwen Stefani) helping to craft the group’s presentation, the musicians onstage: Adam Skeppar (Guitars), Diana Ebe (Vocals), Alison Garner (Vocals), Eli Elstad (Keyboards), Eric Louiselle (Bass), and Lucas Bomeny (Drums) have manifested the very spirit of this latter twentieth century hit machine. Decades removed from the original ABBA, Adam is magnificently and eerily spot on for this band which has proven to be much more than simply a Tribute Band. Playing to massive crowds in America and beyond, ABBARAMA is experiencing their own moment in the spotlight of pop music culture.
Skeppar is a transfixing visual component of ABBARAMA’s concerts. A thrilling performer with unquestionable mastery of the guitar, Adam finds as much excitement in the music as concert attendees do in his performances onstage. Beyond the obvious attention-getting display of prowess some instrumentalists exhibit, there is a deeper layer of musicality which attracts a truly gifted musician. Skeppar informs, “The challenge as a guitarist is to find that balance between adding new exciting things, but also not going out of style. At the end of the day, people want to hear the song, so you have to make sure you stay true to the music. I really enjoy Bjorn and Benny’s [ABBA composers] songwriting and their vocal melodies. The chords are often not what you would regard as usual Pop progressions but are often more advanced and interesting music theory wise. It’s catchy music yet very interesting musically at the same time. I believe the phrasing of the vocal melodies and the sound of the voices make them unique as well; such as in the song ‘If it wasn’t for the nights’ you can hear a very catchy melody yet it bounces around in different vocal ranges and has a very distinct rhythm to it.” Professing his admiration for the subtle genius of the guitar parts, Adam relates, “I studied Bjorn’s parts, those of Swedish guitarist Janne Schaffer’s playing who was a session guitarist for ABBA, and also Finn Sjoberg’s who toured with ABBA during some of their most successful years in the 70’s. The way they sounded in the studio and live could be very different and I wanted to take the best parts of both while also adding my own flavour. You don’t want to play the song just for the sake of playing the song, you want to find the spots where just playing chords is right and also where to add something of your own.”
The international success of the original ABBA has paved the way for ABBARAMA to experience a similar universal popularity, especially when it comes to the States. An upcoming American tour is the product of ABBARAMA’s earlier performances this year in Chicago, Los Angeles, and other major cities. A native of Sweden and a mesmerizing performer, Adam has become an intuitive representative of the band for the public. He finds the attention which he and the band receives to be quite welcoming. Skeppar recalls, “This year has been a thrilling ride as the band’s popularity has skyrocketed. We’ve put in a lot of work and the fruit is now presenting itself. I particularly recall the House of Blues in Chicago show [1,800 capacity]. The venue itself is beautiful and big, four stories tall that allows each floor to look out onto the stage. It was packed and the crowd was so excited. I remember thinking ‘something is really happening here!’ and it has just gotten better.”
Maybe it’s that ABBARAMA takes us back to a less complicated time. Maybe it’s that we love these songs. But more likely, it’s the combination of this with the fact that there is a younger generation of gifted musicians who are able to present this timeless music with the talent and invigorating energy that captures the original hope of these songs. Even a song about heartbreak can be uplifting when you share it with others. Adam Skeppar is excited to be the ambassador of his generation’s top musicians to present this great music to all generations.