« Icon of Iranian culture », « Queen of Persian pop », « Timeless Diva » or even « Daughter of Iran », Googoosh gathers all the superlatives as she is the embodiment of Iranian cultural heritage.
As a singer, actress and role model for youth at her peak in the 60s and 70s, Googoosh has been going through the ages, enjoying immense popularity among Persian-speaking populations around the world.
At the height of her fame, she now personifies the Iran of yesteryear and unites a people in remembrance of its past.
CHILD PRODIGY AND ARTIST WITH AN OUTSTANDING DESTINY
Googoosh, whose real name is Faegheh Atashin, was born in 1950 in Tehran, Iran. It is during her childhood that she is nicknamed Googoosh, a name of Armenian origin meaning « bird ».
Encouraged by her father, she begins her career as a singer and actress very earl, at the age of four. Googoosh quickly becomes known and appreciated throughout the country – including by the imperial couple Pahlavi, for whom she occasionally sings privately.
During the 60’s, Googoosh participates in music festivals and wins many awards. She accompanies the arrival of pop music in Iran, and ends up embodying it. The whole population, in its social variety, loves Googoosh and sees her grow through the screens.
The 1970s mark the peak of her career. One tube follows another, and she symbolizes a model of modernity and style. Women copy her hairstyles and looks, and she becomes the Iranian idol of the time.
After the 1979 Revolution, it is forbidden for a woman to sing alone on stage, and the kind of music Googoosh sings is banned. She is not allowed to sing for twenty years, but chooses to stay in Iran. Googoosh thus disappears from the music scene and movie screens.
In 2000, after 21 years of silence, years that probably contributed to her popularity, Googoosh leaves Iran. She decides to move to Canada and then to the United States, and makes her comeback on the music scene. She begins a world tour, the Googoosh Comeback Tour, and starts releasing new albums regularly.
GOOGOOSH, DIVA OF IRANIAN POP
Carried by her unique voice, her music mixes Persian poems with funk and pop influences of the time. With the help of composers such as Shamaizadeh or Parviz Maghsadi, her songs, which deal with love and nostalgia, systematically become hits.
Her video clip Nemiyad, released in 1968, is a real turning point for the time. Googoosh, who is just eighteen years old, causes a sensation and appears as a model of freedom. Indeed, her mischievous look, her boyish cut, her tight outfit, her dance steps and her assumed facial expressions reflect a very innovative, even « daring » image for the time.
Googoosh produces songs in Persian, but also in Turkish, Armenian, English, French, Italian and Spanish. Thus, her musical repertoire is immense, with more than 250 songs in Persian and 55 international songs.
She also performs on stage with international artists, such as the Franco-Armenian singer Charles Aznavour.
GOOGOOSH, MOVIE STAR
Throughout the 1970s, in addition to hundreds of recorded songs, the Iranian diva also plays in about thirty movies at the cinema.
Each new hit eclipses the previous one, and draws ever-increasing crowds to Iranian cinemas. Among her most popular films are Hajir Darioush’s Bita, for which she wins the Best Actress award at the Sepas Iranian Film Festival in 1972, and Masoud Asadollahi’s Hamsafar (1975).
Two of her marriages are also linked to her film career : the first with Behrouz Vossoughi, a famous Iranian film actor, and the second with the renowned filmmaker Massoud Kimiaei.
In 1998, a feature-length documentary entitled « Googoosh: Iran’s Daughter » is dedicated to her and is made while she is still forbidden to give interviews. Released in 2000, it seeks to situate Googoosh in the midst of Iran’s social, political and cultural transformation.
GOOGOOSH, FASHION ICON
Known for her flamboyant outfits and fashion sense, Googoosh seduces and embodies an ideal of feminine beauty throughout the ages. Her distinctive hairstyles and elegant style are always at the forefront of fashion, even ahead of trends.
Her clothes reflect the new fashions of the time, of which she is often the figurehead in Iran. She introduces mini skirts in the 60’s, hippie style in the 70’s with elephant-legged pants, long necklaces and flowers in the hair, as well as more androgynous costumes.
Her haircuts, in particular, are very noticeable and widely adopted by Iranian women: long brown hair, a boy’s haircut in 1975 which becomes the famous « Googooshi » cut, or blond dyeing.
As a diva, Googoosh is finally using a lot of accessories such as hats, scarves, or very colorful jewelry.
THE PRESTIGE OF GOOGOOSH
Today, Googoosh remains a very present personality. She has her own show, the Googoosh Music Academy, which is the Iranian equivalent of American Idol. Broadcasted on an Iranian satellite based in London, and widely watched by Iranians, she is part of a jury facing young singers.
Rather far from politics, Googoosh has nonetheless committed herself to gay rights in her 2012 video Behesht, which features a lesbian couple – which has earned her many reactions and criticisms.
As a true national and artistic myth, Googoosh embodies a certain nostalgia for the pre-revolutionary era. She thus marks not only the recent history of Iran, but also that of her neighboring countries. Indeed, she enjoys an immense popularity that brings together the Iranian diaspora and beyond.
In Tajikistan, in particular, Googoosh is revered both by the population and by specialists who devote themselves to its study. In fact, « googooshologists » have already devoted a dozen thesis to her, and the day of the singer’s birthday, May 5th, has even become a national holiday in Tajikistan.
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