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Iranian music legend Googosh to perform at Balboa Theatre

Iranian pop star Googoosh performs during a concert at the Dubai Expo 2020, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Iranian pop star Googoosh performs during a concert at the Dubai Expo 2020, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Thursday, March 17, 2022. Googoosh delivered old hits and songs from her new album to a packed stadium on Thursday in Dubai, just across the Persian Gulf from her home that had banned her from singing for 21 years and where authorities to this day continue to protest her performances.
(Ebrahim Noroozi / Associated Press)

Tehran-born vocal legend Faegheh Atashin — who performs as Googoosh and has long been hailed as the “Voice of Iran” — is a vibrant force for resiliency.

Starting in 1979, she was forbidden by her country’s government from performing in her homeland (and from leaving it) for 21 years. The ban extended to all women singers; Googoosh was the most famous.

Since going into exile in Los Angeles in 2000, she has made eight albums and toured the world.

At 71, Googoosh remains a symbol of defiance. Her songs, nearly all of which are performed in Farsi, sound unthreatening to Western ears.

But their lyrics can still inspire with such stirring couplets as “Why is it these days that singing is a crime?” and “Don’t tell me to run away from love” (the latter from her 2014 ballad, “Behesht,” the first pro-LBGTQ song of note by any singer from Iran, a country in which homosexuality is punishable by death).

8 p.m. Sunday. Balboa Theatre, 868 Fourth Ave., downtown. $92.50-$189. (619) 615-4000. ticketmaster.com


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