As a long time fan of Frida, aka Anni-Frid Lyngstad or “the dark one” from ABBA, I was really excited when I heard news of the release of this DVD to co-incide with her 60th birthday. I bought it a couple of months ago, watched it from start to finish, and have come back to it on many occasions since then, so I thought it worth writing about.
She’s living mostly in Zermatt in Switzerland, these days, and chose the Matterhorn as the backdrop for a series of reminiscences about her life and career over the past forty years (or so).
And so the DVD chronicles her life and career before, during and after ABBA, ending with a rather wonderful piece about her life now, in which she explains she no longer has an interest in music or performance, choosing to spend her days with friends, enjoying the wondrous Swiss landscape.
As a simple chronology, the DVD goes from reminiscence in front of the mountain, often with an amusing anecdote, to a (usually) high quality piece from the archive. Although many of them I’d seen before, there were also many others I’d never seen.
Although she is sometimes identified as having been a “jazz singer” prior to ABBA, she makes it clear she wasn’t, that she sang “ever greens” and “schlagers” (big blustering Swedish pop songs). And for that reason it was fascinating to see footage from a Swedish television program where she sang classics like “Mad About The Boy” and “My Man”. Although her English language diction is sometimes a little wanting, she sings with a great deal of passion and beauty.
As she reminisces about her work, you clearly get the impression she’s largely happy with the career choices, and musical selections she made, at one point confessing that she never really had a career plan, that it all just happened.
She speaks with fondness about her days with ABBA, but makes it clear that it was also a long time ago, and that she feels that part of her life probably ended with the 30th anniversary of Waterloo a couple of years ago. Mind you, there’s also a lovely anecdote she tells of her step-daughter quite co-incidentally sitting by a pool in Spain next to Agnetha.
By the end of the video (three hours) you are given a sense of a really very beautiful person who has had to deal with some terrible personal tragedies but who has made it through happy and content. The tragedies include the death of her mother when she was two (her father was a German soldier in Norway during World War II and she was born with all of the associated baggage), and the recent deaths of her daughter (in a car accident) and her husband (from cancer). She also also speaks about being “rootless” (a bad translation) meaning she has had to continually find new roots in her life with a degree of wisdom, without any real hint of regret. Mind you, although she mentions some aspects of her private life – the divorces, the death of her husband, her close friends now – she doesn’t mention her early upbringing in any detail (the issue with her father), nor the death of her daughter.
But now, living in Switzerland and hanging out with a small group of friends – we are introduced to Urs and Heinz two obviously gay men – she seems genuinely happy with her life, which is a good thing to be at age 60.
This is really a video for fans only, tho I suspect a shortened version could be of some interest to a wider audience.