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….
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”