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Expat Producer Finds A Sense Of 'Home' In Music


Now as this program winds down - the last broadcast is scheduled for August 1 - we thought it would be nice to hear about the music members of our staff are listening to as part of our series, In Your Ear. Producer Freddie Boswell has spent most of her life living and traveling outside of the U.S. from Kenya and Tanzania to (unintelligible) and England, and that definitely informs what's on her playlist.

FREDDIE BOSWELL: I'm Freddie Boswell andm as you can hear from my accent - or maybe you can't - I'm Kenyan, British - came here from London, lived in Zanzibar, and that's a lot of what is playing in my ear - songs that take me back to these places. One song is "Ni Pendo", which means it's love in Swahili. And it's by a Tanzanian singer called Carola Kinasha.


CAROLA KINASHA: (Singing in Swahili).

BOSWELL: As the title suggests, it is all about love and celebrating love. There are lines like, today I'm yours, my home is yours, what's mine is yours. And when I first saw Carola perform this live, it just really struck a chord in me, and I thought it had to be played at my wedding. And I was lucky Carola did. So I just always keep this song with me because it takes me back to my favorite place in the world - a beach in Zanzibar.


KINASHA: (Singing in Swahili).

BOSWELL: Another song is "Zambezi" by a young Brit-Zimbabwean singer, called Tinashe.


TINASHE: (Singing) Do you remember the day you said I'll be the only one 'cause I remember the way you held my gaze - my lovely one. I still remember stealing all the mangoes from the farm just for fun - just for fun.

BOSWELL: I love this storytelling in this song - that image of falling in love while stealing mangoes on the farm and then the soldiers coming.

TINASHE: (Singing) Do you remember the day the soldiers came with all their guns? Because I remember begging you to leave my love - just run across the river. Don't you dare look back for me, my love. I will come - Oh, I will come 'cause you're the one.

BOSWELL: And he just tells a beautiful story of love and loss.

TINASHE: (Singing) You're the one.


BRENDA FASSIE: (Singing in a foreign language).

BOSWELL: Another song is the late great Brenda Fassie's "Vulindlela." This year marks 10 years since she died, but this song live song at every wedding or party I've been to from D.C. to London to Kenya. And there's something about the haunting, yet fabulous, way she opens it with that - (Singing in a foreign language) that I've always love.


FASSIE: (Singing in foreign language).

MARTIN: That was TELL ME MORE producer Freddie Boswell telling us what's playing in her ear. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Frederica Boswell
Michel Martin is the weekend host of All Things Considered, where she draws on her deep reporting and interviewing experience to dig in to the week's news. Outside the studio, she has also hosted "Michel Martin: Going There," an ambitious live event series in collaboration with Member Stations.