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Delkash

The Iranian singer and actress known as Delkash played an important role in spreading and modernizing traditional Persian music. Born Esmat Bagherpour in the city of Babol in 1925, Delkash was one of ten children. As a teenager, she traveled with her sister to Tehran to study. At school, Delkash’s singing talent was identified by Zahar al-Dini, who brought her to the attention of the prominent composer/academic Rouhollah Khaleghi. By 1943, Delkash had begun to sing publicly and, by 1945, she had started to sing on Radio Iran, where Khaleghi served as musical director. At Radio Iran, she began a seven-year collaborative relationship with the composer Mehdi Khaledi. Composers who looked to innovate Iranian traditional music were searching for a dynamic female voice to present their compositions. Through 1979, Delkash worked with many of Iran’s most talented composers and songwriters, including Ali Tajvidi and Rahim Moeini Kermanshahi. Under the pseudonym Niloofar, Delkash wrote some of her own songs. In addition to her musical career, she acted in a series of Iranian films, notably 1950’s  Ashamed, 1951’s  Mother, and 1954’s  The Plot. Following the Iranian Revolution of 1979, when pop music was banned, Delkash was forced into retirement. She died in Tehran in 2004.