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Babba Feeds the Need For All Who Can't Forget

Babba Feeds the Need For All Who Can't Forget

Where: Western Suburbs Leagues Club
Author: Jade Lazerevic
When: Friday March 8, 2002

Their passion became their profession and this lively foursome has never looked back in 8 years of international success as JADE LAZAREVIC reports.

WHAT do most passionate fans do when they admire a musician?

Do they spend a small fortune on collectable records and memorabilia or listen to their albums day in and day out?

Most would be happy to choose either, but when it came down to four ABBA fans, this was not enough.

Adopting the name BABBA, four Melbourne performers have taken their love for the music of ABBA and turned it into a full concert experience.

BABBA was brought to life in 1994 by Michael Ingvarson, James McDonald, Deborah Cotton and Olivia Rezzara. Each are respected and experienced performers and had previously worked in theatre and cabaret before joining BABBA.

The decision to form BABBA was thrown around but before they knew it, they were on stage in platform boots and glitter, belting out Dancing Queen. 'I grew up on ABBA music,' Rezzara said.

'I think I ended up being a singer because ABBA was a great influence when I was younger - you know the old hairbrush-superstar thing when you're younger.'

Since performing its first gig to an audience of 500 people, the group has gone on to perform to audiences' as large as 40,000 during the Super League Grand Final.

Their popularity in Australia has soared and they also have a large following in New Zealand and South-East Asia.

Last year, BABBA experienced one of its most successful years after performing 214 shows in 170 sold-out venues.

Although it does perform cover songs, BABBA is respected and shared the stage with big names such as Ray Charles, Kylie Minogue, John Farnham, Darryl Braithwaite and John Paul Young. The foursome presents an amazing re-creation of ABBA and complete the show with Swedish accents, extravagant costumes and all of ABBA's hits.

But the show is not a tribute show.

It is a full-blown concert and is said to have fans screaming for more.

'We recently played in Bendigo and we had a crowd of 3000 and it was fantastic with the hype and everything.

'All the kids were screaming and it was unbelievable because we're pretending to be ABBA and we've got these people screaming and asking for autographs.'

And it's not just the kids who love it because adults are also known to get in the spirit of things and go crazy for BABBA.

'We've had a few requests for autographs, Benny has signed a few backsides and women throw bras up on stage sometimes.'

But the band does take the show seriously and gives its all into putting together the best act possible.

'We go out of our way to replicate the ABBA sound and we try and look like them as much as we can.

'We put on the accent and the ABBA costumes and we try to make it tongue-in-cheek, but we respect their music and try to sing as similar to ABBA as we can.'

Rezzara said she believes it is ABBA's music and the bond shared by the band's members that makes people keep coming back to the show.

'I think with ABBA music it is just so timeless.

'It caters for everyone from little kids to parents and great grandparents.

'Plus, we're all great friends, it's like a second family and I think that's why it's been so successful for seven years.'

BABBA will perform in Newcastle at Wests Leagues Club on Friday night and Belmont 16ft Sailing Club on Saturday night.

Tickets to the Wests show are available by calling 4935-1200.

Tickets to the Belmont show are available by calling 4945-0888.

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