When the ABBA tribute band ABRA Cadabra comes to Cache Creek to perform on April 29, the concert will have a very special meaning for one of the band’s co-creators and performers, Jeanette O’Keeffe. She’s the niece of long-time Cache Creek resident and former mayor Ben Roy, who was also her godfather, and she says that his sudden death last year is still a shock.
“He asked us if we could come for the [flood relief] concert last year, but we were performing in West Virginia at the time. This concert is a tribute to him.”
O’Keeffe and her husband Jonas Falle created ABRA Cadabra 15 years ago. O’Keeffe takes on the role of dark-haired singer Anni-Frid (Frida) Lyngstad, while Falle is guitarist Björn Ulvaeus. O’Keeffe says they don’t try to impersonate the musicians. “We’re paying tribute to, and celebrating, their music, and hope we do it justice.” In addition to performing many of ABBA’s biggest hits and best-known songs, O’Keeffe says they incorporate behind-the-scenes information into the show. “We explain why they wrote some of the songs and how they came to be.”
ABRA Cadabra was the first of eight different shows O’Keeffe has helped put together, and she says it’s been very good to them, allowing the group to travel all over the world. “ABBA are icons; they wrote so many great songs. And the cool thing about them is that their music transcends all ages and cultures. It connects so many generations, and you don’t see that very often.”
She notes that when the group travels to foreign countries, they find that audience members who can’t speak English know all the words to the songs. “They’re very catchy melodies, and the songs sound easy, but the music is very complicated to play and sing. And I think the fact that the lyrics were translated from Swedish into English adds another layer to them.”
She admits that with so many great songs to pick from, they have to be selective when choosing which ones to perform. “We’re very conscious of being in service to the audience. If people want to dance, we won’t do a lot of ballads, but if it’s a theatre show we’ll do some of the big numbers, like ‘Winner Takes it All’. What are the songs the audience wants to hear?”
As a singer, O’Keeffe appreciates the fact that so many ABBA songs are written for two women, which is unusual in pop music. “I love harmonizing, and having another strong female voice to harmonize with is great.
“I’m super-excited to come to Cache Creek, and it will be a special night for me. I’m looking forward to bringing joy and music to the town.”
ABRA Cadabra performs at the Cache Creek Community Hall on Friday, April 29. The all-ages concert starts at 7:30, and advance tickets ($25.00) are available at Cache Creek Husky or online at www.showtickets.ticketleap.com. Tickets will also be available at the door for $30.00.