It seemed like an odd combination — Rajaton, a Finnish a cappella group, performing the music of ‘70s Swedish pop group ABBA alongside the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. But in the end, it turned out to be a highly entertaining and deeply nostalgic evening for the largely baby boomer audience in attendance Sunday at the Palladium in Carmel.
ABBA was formed in Stockholm in 1972 and is an acronym of the first letters of the first names of the two men and two women who comprised the group. They became one of the most commercially successful pop groups in music history, topping the charts worldwide for a decade and selling over 370 million albums.
Rajaton, based in Helsinki, is Finnish for “boundless.” They are a six-voice ensemble of three men and three women who perform a diverse repertoire of music of all styles in churches, concert halls and jazz and choral festivals. They have recorded 13 albums.
Act 1 saw Rajaton members, all of whom possess stupendous voices, perform ABBA mega hits such as “Dancing Queen,” “Chiquitita,” “S.O.S.” and “Mamma Mia,” in spectacular harmony.
Giving the audience a taste of how they sound as an a cappella group, Rajaton performed “Head Over Heels.” They accompanied their singing with various members ingeniously replicating the sounds of percussion and wind instruments in a nearly seamless manner.
Act 2 included “When All Is Said and Done,” “Knowing Me, Knowing You,” “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!” and “The Winner Takes it All.”
Rajaton also sang “Fernando” a cappella and once again demonstrated their accomplished finesse at recreating the sounds of musical instruments.
Notable was the group’s choreography, which exhibited a lot of symmetrical shapes and very precise movements.
Less impressive were Rajaton’s costumes — particularly those worn in the second act — which featured the women in hideously designed dresses and unattractive leggings and the men in ill-filling slacks and jackets.
Following what is these days the de rigueur standing ovation, the group sang three encore numbers, including “Voulez-Vous,” “Waterloo” and a reprise of “Dancing Queen” — all of which the audience sang along with and moved to.
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