Andersson, 72, sees his group, which goes by BAO (pronounced “bah-oh”), as part of the tradition of the hardworking “dansbands” that entertained Swedes for generations. Dansbands, whose popularity peaked in the 1970s and 1980s, would roam the country and play mainly pop, rock, disco and the cheesy easy-listening known as schlager with one goal in mind: Get people to dance. Many wore fantastically garish matching costumes.
BAO’s sets are puzzlingly diverse, as if someone had grafted together the playlists of 20 genres on Spotify. Attending four tour stops last week, I took in 16 hours of music — like Wagner’s “Ring” cycle, only more upbeat — and heard waltzes, big-band jazz, pop tunes, polkas, boogie, chansons, rockabilly, glam-rock stomps and traditional folk tunes. The band basically went through all the styles Abba smoothly integrated into its signature hits.
“They capture the Swedishness of the music,” Jan Ryden, 55, said of BAO, at the end of the show in Eskilstuna, 90 minutes west of Stockholm.
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