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Eve Boswell at Ciro’s

July 20, 2009

Eve Boswell (Eva Keleti, May 11, 1922, Budapest, Hungary – August 14, 1998, Durban, South Africa) was a successful pop singer in Britain in the 1950s

She was born in Hungary to professional musician parents who toured worldwide. Educated in Switzerland, she studied piano before joining her parents on tour as The Three Hugos. When World War II was declared, the family left England with the Boswell Circus. She married, and as Eve Boswell became a popular singing star in South Africa.

In 1949, she was heard by bandleader Geraldo (Gerald Bright), who persuaded her to return to the United Kingdom as a singer in his band, which was widely heard on BBC Radio. Boswell parted with Geraldo in 1952, and launched a solo career. Her first hit record came that year with “Sugar Bush”, partly sung in Afrikaans. She appeared in the Royal Variety Performance and toured widely with comedian Derek Roy, before getting her own radio-show in 1954

Her major chart hit came with “Pickin’ a Chicken”, a South African tune with new words, which rose to No 9 on the UK Singles Chart at the start of 1956.  The song, originally sung by Barbara Thomas didn’t do much when it was first released but when Eve adapted it to the taste of her white audience it became a smash…

Eve Boswell’s first LP, “Sugar and Spice”, on which she sang 10 songs in nine different languages, followed later in the year. A continuous programme of radio work and tours followed, leading to more than one mental breakdown.

She faded from public view as public tastes for pop music changed through the late 1950s and 1960s, eventually returning to live in South Africa. Eve Boswell died in Durban, South Africa on August 14, 1998

‘Eve at Ciro’s’ is  a most unusual find and equally a rare EP that highlights the standard Eve Boswell sets at that most famous nightclub of  Johannesburg; Ciro’s.   During her lenghty career Eve performed many times at Ciro’s and this EP,  although not recorded live on the spot,  is certainly worth a few curtaincalls…

Eve sings in English and Afrikaans and does a really exciting version of ‘Wimoweh/The Lion Sleeps tonight”, but this time arranged and recorded as a chacha….

Eve Boswell -Wimoweh Cha Cha

Eve Boswell -if I had a talking picture of you

Eve Boswell -Boegoeberg Se Dam

Eve Boswell -Piccaninny

see Eve Boswell singing a medley of her most well-known hits at The Wheeltappers  & Shunters Social Club: “Pickin’ A Chicken”,  “Sugar Bush” and “A-round The Corner”

5 comments

  1. Greetings from a Snowy Scotland
    Thanks for an excellent informative site on the one and only Eve Boswell
    She appeared often in Glasgow and was greatly loved
    I so enjoyed the recordings from Eve,s E P Ciros
    The only thing is that Eve sadly died in 1998 not 1988.
    Kindest Regards
    Alan Marshall


    • thanks for the update!


  2. I will forever be grateful for Eve Boswell. In 1982 she held a talent search as part of concerts she was doing in Durban. As a school boy in my last year of schooling I entered the contest and tied for 1st place with Tu Nokwe who later went on to act in the television series Shaka Zulu. The price was a year’s voice training at Eve’s Vocal school in Greenside Johannesburg. This training was invaluable to me as today I am a gospel artist and have also recorded.

    Sean Bouchier


  3. i just heard the cd the War Years and would like to know if this was an original album and if so what year it was.


    • can you be more specific about which album you mean?



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