Remembering Shusha

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John Etherington
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Remembering Shusha

Post by John Etherington » Mon Jan 10, 2011 3:19 am

During the Christmas holidays, I was very sad to hear that the Persian singer, Shusha had died nearly three years ago. She died of cancer on March 21st 2008, and I didn't hear any news of this, at the time. This was particularly surprising, as I was a friend of Shusha and used to visit her at her home in Chelsea, especially when I was living nearby in the late 70s and early 80s. However, I had not seen her for a few years. I loved her music, and still have all of her albums on vinyl. Shusha recorded three songs by Leonard: "Joan of Arc" on her album "Songs of Longtime Lovers", (1972) "Dance Me to the end of Love" on "Strange Affair" (1986) and "Ain't No Cure for Love" on "Refugee" (1995). I think I was the first person to introduce her to "Ain't No Cure", when I played the "I'm Your Man" album to her. She decided it was a suitable song to sing, after hearing Jennifer Warnes version. I know that Shusha met Leonard either in the late 70s or early 80s, and remember us talking about "Ballad of the Absent Mare". I couldn't find many songs by Shusha on youtube, but here's a nice version of John Prine's "Hello in There" from her 70s album, "Before the Deluge": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-A52rZr5p0U
Finally, here's an obituary of Shusha from 2008: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituar ... Guppy.html

All good things, John E
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Kush
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Re: Remembering Shusha

Post by Kush » Tue Jan 11, 2011 4:13 am

Never heard of this person but nice version of Hello In There, an old favorite.
Bizarre....I just had an almost identical experience recently - I used to hear Dan Seals quite obsessively in 8th - 9th grade (along with Dwight Yoakam) and recently found out that he'd died of cancer on March 25th, 2009.
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TineDoes
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Re: Remembering Shusha

Post by TineDoes » Tue Jan 11, 2011 5:18 pm

Thank you for posting this. I never heard of her either. But I love her singing Bette Midlers moving song.
It is funny how things sometimes come together; Sufi music being discussed in the thread You are Right Sahara.
I would be interested to know what you think makes Shusha's interpretations of Leonard Cohens songs special. Do you think her background has something to do with it?
"There’s no forsaking what you love ...."

Rotterdam 2008; Antwerpen, Dublin 2009; Gent 2x, Lille , Las Vegas 2x 2010, Gent, Amsterdam, Dublin 2x 2012, Antwerp, Berlin, Rotterdam 2013
John Etherington
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Re: Remembering Shusha

Post by John Etherington » Wed Jan 12, 2011 3:48 am

Tinedoes - Although Shusha's versions of Leonard's songs are good, I wouldn't say that they are a particularly outstanding part of her work. However, Shusha must have been one of the first artists to cover "Joan of Arc" (1972), and also "Dance Me to the End of Love" (1986). The latter was recorded during Leonard's least popular era, and before Jennifer Warnes revival. More significant is the fact that in 1983 Shusha recorded a fine album of songs by English poets titled "Durable Fire". This included a beautiful version of the Yeats poem "Go No More a Rovin'' with a slightly different tune to Leonard's version. I think that it may have been around this time that Shusha met Leonard, and I suspect that she would have given him a copy of her album. Thus, she may have influenced Leonard in recording this song.

The songs that drew me to Shusha's music were "Natalia" (a moving song with lyrics by Shusha about Natalya Gorbanevskya), and "Durable Fire" with lyrics by Sir Walter Raleigh and music by Tony Maude. Both of these were featured on her album "Shusha". I also paricularly liked "Lovers of the Spring" with lyrics by Shakespeare and again, I believe music by Tony Maude. I first saw Shusha live at Regents Park open air theatre in the Seventies, and her band included Roy Apps and G.T. Moore (both from the folk group, Heron). Joan Baez was in the audience, and soon after recorded "Natalia" on her live album "From Every Stage". When Dylan came to London in 1978, he asked to meet Shusha and the story of their encounter is told in a song on her album "Here I Love You". I can't remember the details of her meeting with Leonard, but I suspect that Leonard may have asked to meet her, or that they were connected by a mutual acquaintance. My favourite albums by Shusha other than those already mentioned were "This is the Day" (title from the song by Captain Beefheart), and her second album of Persian songs "From East to West" which featured excellent musicianship.

All good things, John E

P.S. Kush - interesting synchronicity with your Dan Seals story.
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TineDoes
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Re: Remembering Shusha

Post by TineDoes » Wed Jan 12, 2011 10:05 am

John, Thank you very much for your information. I have found some of her records/cd's including 'This is the day' in our record library. Will look for Leonard Covers. Really beautiful voice.
Tine
"There’s no forsaking what you love ...."

Rotterdam 2008; Antwerpen, Dublin 2009; Gent 2x, Lille , Las Vegas 2x 2010, Gent, Amsterdam, Dublin 2x 2012, Antwerp, Berlin, Rotterdam 2013
John Etherington
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Re: Remembering Shusha

Post by John Etherington » Thu Jan 13, 2011 2:31 pm

Something else that Shusha took part in, in the 1970s, was the Bhaktari Migration. The extraordinary movie about this (narrated by Shusha) is currently available on youtube. I believe it is in five parts. Here's a link to Part :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IljkR_y9Or8

If you watch this, links to the other parts should pop up on the right of the screen.

New copies of her two album CD "Shusha/This is the Day" are currently available on Amazon for around £3.50.

All good things, John E
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TineDoes
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Re: Remembering Shusha

Post by TineDoes » Sat Jan 15, 2011 8:49 pm

John Etherington wrote: I can't remember the details of her meeting with Leonard, but I suspect that Leonard may have asked to meet her, or that they were connected by a mutual acquaintance.
Do you know if Leonard and Shusha met just the once or more often? Do you think she may have introduced or spoke to him about Persian music?
I have found her version of Joan of Arc on an LP lovely and 'small'. I think that she sings it in a chanson like way with her the French influence. Like she sings Jacques Brel's, 'Song of Long-time lovers (Chanson des vieux amants)' tender and beautiful. This last song has been translated and sung by a Dutch singer Herman van Veen, a wonderful delecate version. He sang a wonderful translated version of Leonard's 'Suzanne', which is very much loved by Dutch people; simply everybody knows it.
She reminds me of Joan Baez and she had the same musicians to back her who backed Sandy Denny; both singers I have loved since the 70's.
Though late, a very worhwhile introduction.
Tineke
"There’s no forsaking what you love ...."

Rotterdam 2008; Antwerpen, Dublin 2009; Gent 2x, Lille , Las Vegas 2x 2010, Gent, Amsterdam, Dublin 2x 2012, Antwerp, Berlin, Rotterdam 2013
John Etherington
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Re: Remembering Shusha

Post by John Etherington » Sun Jan 16, 2011 12:52 am

Tineke - It's good to hear that you appreciate Shusha's music. I only remember Shusha telling me about the one meeting with Leonard, but I guess it's possible that she may have met him more than once. Shusha only had a small cult following in the U.K. She never had an album that achieved major recognition, and her concerts were quite low-key affairs. I think the reason for this is that the first album to get any real push by the music business was the "Shusha" album in 1974. However, by then the main folk-rock era had peaked, and music was entering a more transitional phase. Shusha's audience were a mixture of western contemporary music followers and Iranian people. The Iranian people always seemed to be waiting to clap along during the occasional Persian songs that she sang! One of the most interesting performances by Shusha that I attended was when she shared a bill with Ted Hughes at a church in Hammersmith. Shusha sang some songs, and Hughes recited his poetry (Shusha knew Ted Hughes). By the way, two of Shusha's best albums "Shusha" and "This is the Day" are available on one CD. At the present time, there are new copies of this for as little as £3.40 on amazon.co.uk

All good things, John E
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Kush
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Re: Remembering Shusha

Post by Kush » Sun Jan 16, 2011 1:06 am

She has an album 'Persian Love Songs and Mystic Chants' on Amazon. Looks interesting, she has a good voice.
John Etherington
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Re: Remembering Shusha

Post by John Etherington » Sun Jan 16, 2011 1:17 am

Kush - In my opinion the best of Shusha's Persian albums was "From East to West", since the production on this and the quality of the musicianship was outstanding. Unfortunately, this does not appear to be avaibale at present, but hopefully it will be issued on CD, in due course.

All the best, John E
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TineDoes
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Re: Remembering Shusha

Post by TineDoes » Sun Jan 16, 2011 3:22 pm

It must have been wonderful to hear her live.
I found all the albums you named in the record library exept 'From East to West'. On which albums are 'Dance me to the end of Love 'Go no More A Roving'? I found another album 'Here I Love You'.
"There’s no forsaking what you love ...."

Rotterdam 2008; Antwerpen, Dublin 2009; Gent 2x, Lille , Las Vegas 2x 2010, Gent, Amsterdam, Dublin 2x 2012, Antwerp, Berlin, Rotterdam 2013
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Kush
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Re: Remembering Shusha

Post by Kush » Sun Jan 16, 2011 8:40 pm

Thanks John. Appreciate you bringing her music here.

cheers
John Etherington
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Remembering Shusha

Post by John Etherington » Mon Jan 17, 2011 1:35 am

Tineke - "Dance Me to the End of Love" is on the album "Strange Affair", and "Go No More a Rovin'" is on the album "Durable Fire" (neither are available on CD, at present).

All good things, John E
John Etherington
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Re: Remembering Shusha

Post by John Etherington » Mon Jan 07, 2013 3:55 am

Nice version of Jacques Brel's "Chansons Des Vieux Amants" by Shusha. This is from her album "Songs of Long Time Lovers" (1972) which also included "Joan of Arc".

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MRVoKZ-Y-qY
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A.Sukitu
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Re: Remembering Shusha

Post by A.Sukitu » Wed Apr 17, 2013 8:27 pm

....... I have just read this sad news, five years too late ........
I shall light a candle tonight for Shusha when I shall listen to her beautiful voice.
Such a loss here without knowing that she is on the planet.
"You let me sing, you lifted me up, you gave my soul a beam to travel on. ... You gave the injury a tongue to heal itself."
Leonard Cohen in Book of Mercy (1984) Ch. 19.
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