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Googoosh Draws Thousands Of Iranians In Dubai

Famed Iranian pop star Googoosh drew a crowd of over 5,000, most of them Iranians, at a concert in Dubai on March 23, with attendees spending anywhere from $100 to $800 per ticket. (Full disclosure: the concert was sponsored in part by RFE/RL's Radio Farda.)

Why would your average Iranian go to such lengths to see a 60-year-old pop star live? Three reasons: she's been the country's definitive diva for four generations, she was giving a New Year concert (the Persian New Year, or "Norouz" being March 20), and the concert was just across the Gulf.

Tickets aren't cheap and neither is Dubai, but thousands did whatever it took to see Googoosh live. (They can't in Iran as women are banned from singing in public.)

Here is Googoosh's single released in advance of her latest album, "Hajme Sabz," or "Green Volume."

Googoosh, who was born in Tehran and raised by her acrobatic father after her parents divorced, launched her career in then-monarchical Iran in the 1960s and 1970 as a singer and an actress, eventually appearing in 25 films.

Her fame spread throughout the Middle East and Central Asia, and she has performed duets with a variety of musicians, among them Ray Charles, Tina Turner, Charles Aznavour, and Pepino Di Capri.

She has recorded songs in English, French, Spanish and Italian. (Above watch Googoosh singing "I Believe" in English early on in her career.)

Unlike many of Iran's prominent musicians, particularly women, Googosh stayed in Iran after the rise of the Islamic Republic in 1979. Since leaving the country in 2000, she has recorded six albums.

-- Kristin Deasy

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at

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