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Bahar Gholamhosseini, better known by her stage name Elaheh (Persian: الهه; born 1934, Yazd, Iran, died August 15, 2007, Tehran, Iran) was one of the best known female vocalists in Iran before the 1979 revolution. Her singing career spanned more than half a century and included several performances for the popular National Radio programme Golha, which was host to many highly esteemed Iranian vocalists. During this time she collaborated with famous Iranian composers and soloists, and the fruits of these collaborations include some of the most popular songs in music. She also performed at the Albert Hall, London.

Her best-known songs works include Rosvayeh Zamaneh (Revealed to the World) and Az khoon-e Javanan-e Vatan Laleh Damideh (Tulips grow from the blood of the country’s youth). Her songs were used in the first radio programme on air announcing the new republic. After the Islamic revolution, however, her singing career, like those of many other female singers, came to an abrupt end when female vocalists were banned from public performances. Elaheh then fled the country for the US, where she worked in Los Angeles during the 1980s and 1990s.

While living abroad Elaheh’s career took a controversial turn when she collaborated with the exiled group Mujahidin, which she later denounced as more of an “extremely narrow and strict cult” than an intellectual organisation of freedom fighters.

In an interview with Anne Singleton in September 2005, Elaheh stated that she was lured into collaboration with the Mujahidin through one of its satellite organisations based in Europe. She describes how she was stuck in that situation for several years, unable to perform freely while the Mujahidin failed to meet its full financial commitments to her. Elaheh finally denounced the organisation in 2003 and returned to Iran three months ago where she died of cancer.

Elaheh’s legacy is her much-loved voice and songs which many people, old and young alike, still remember and sing. Last week the National Radio aired a one-hour programme of her songs; it was the first show to feature a female singer in 27 years. And she is to be recognised in Iran for her contribution to music. Elaheh once stated: “What I am sure of is that my legacy is my voice and that for years to come people will enjoy my voice and my songs. These belong to Iran and the world of music.”

She was married three times; two husbands survive her as well as four sons and one daughter.

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