After watching Sacha Baron Cohen's The Dictator last night, I got it in me noggin to reup this supremely classy album in 320 thrill-filled kbps for your listening pleasure. Grab it here. On a vaguely related note, back in 2004 or so, I wrote this piece on Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis for NYFA's website. I'd forgotten all about it until just now. One of the most fascinating living singers on the planet, Googoosh was born in the early 1950s in Tehran where, from an early age, she began performing with her father, doing impersonations of famous singers of the era. She went on to become the country's most famous singer, developing a style that is impossible to locate in terms of its various influences. I remember the first time I heard her sing; poet and critic Ammiel Alcalay was giving a few Brooklynites a ride back home from a reading at the Poetry Project in Manhattan and popped in a cassette. We all listened in a kind of stunned silence until Ammiel said: "I mean ... what is she doing? Where did she get the idea for this?" It took me years of bodega diving before I found the CD above. I made the mistake--alas, more than once--of asking shop keeps in places that sold Arabic music if they had anything by Googoosh. I just assumed these places had music from all over the middle east and north Africa. Uh, no. Duh, Gary. That said, shock of shocks, it was at an Arabic bodega on the Berkeley/Oakland border where I found this. I don't remember my conversation with the shop keep other than expressing surprise at finding Googoosh there and him smiling and telling me how great she was. So there is a god. With the Islamic revolution in 1979, Googoosh was silenced. She decided to stay in Iran, even though she knew it meant the end of her singing career. In the last decade, she's made something of a comeback, performing occasional concerts, mostly outside of Iran. During the post-election protests in 2009, she spoke out publicly against the brutal response to the demonstrations: "I have come here to be the voice for the sad mothers who lost their loved ones in peaceful demonstrations. I have come here to be the just voice of the grass-roots and spontaneous movement among my compatriots and to show my solidarity."