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Cover of one of Delkash's greatest hits albums produced in Los Angeles.

Delkash in London
First public performance in more than 20 years

By Baqer Moin
October 21, 1998
The Iranian

A pioneering Iranian actress and singer, Delkash, appeared in London's Queen Elizabeth Hall two weeks ago as part of a European tour which brought her back to the stage for the first time in almost twenty years.

Women have been banned from performing in public in Iran since the 1979 revolution. Delkash's current tour marks the first time she has sung in public since then. Now in her mid seventies, she is remembered for her energetic and dominant voice. (To hear Delkash songs click here.)

The very appearance of the diminutive, hunchbacked woman leaning on a stick provoked a standing ovation from her nostalgic admirers.

"We have aged together," she said wryly to a packed hall of over a thousand Iranians. Once she sat down p- she could not perform standing-- she was in her element. Traces of a versatile and powerful voice gradually re-emerged.

"I started singing over fifty years ego, but I am not that old," she remarked.

Delkash comes from the Caspian town of Babol. Her distinctive voice and acting style helped ensure the popularity of Iran's nascent cinema in the 1940s.

Delkash sings of innocent love, of nostalgia and of her home town. she has never been political. But her very presence in a London concert hall, after twenty years of silence, spoke volumes to her admirers.

The electrified audience wanted more, and she obliged.

Baqer Moin is the director of the BBC Persian Service in London.

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