Shusha iTunes Tracks


Born Shansi Assar on the 24 December 1935, Tehran, Iran, the daughter of revered theologian and Grand Ayatollah Sayyed Mohammed-Kazem Assar, she adopted the name SHUSHA after studies took her from Tehran University in 1953 to the Sorbonne in Paris, taking Oriental Languages and Philosophy. Abandoning her original thoughts of becoming an opera singer, she became deeply interested in the leftist idealogies of Jean-Paul Sartre and Louis Aragon, while her respective interests in poetry and music became focused on Jacques Prevert and Juliette Greco.
After discovering her musical inclinations lay on the French cabaret circuit (another inspiration would be troubadour JACQUES BREL), Shusha fell for and married explorer/art dealer Nicholas Guppy, relocating forthwith to London where she became a writer and journo; she duly worked as London Editor for the Paris Review, taking further inspiration from early 60s folk stars such as JOAN BAEZ and BOB DYLAN.
Having seen the 60s pass her by in terms of recordings and releases, SHUSHA (and at first her flute, behboudi and zarb-playing sidekick, Duncan Lamont) finally delivered her debut LP in 1971 for the little-known Tangent label, entitled PERSIAN LOVE SONGS & MYSTIC CHANTS {*6}, a record in-tune with post-psych-folk; `The Wheat-Flower’ was arguably the best 2 minutes here. SONG OF LONG-TIME LOVERS (1972) {*5} carried the same Middle-Eastern momentum over, while her film documentary, People Of The Wind (depicting the nomadic tribesman of Bakhtiari), kept up her high profile back home when released in 1976; it seized an Oscar nomination the following year.
Meanwhile, she’d landed a lucrative contract with United Artists Records, who immediately got to work on the release of a series of LPs, SHUSHA (1974) {*6}, THIS IS THE DAY (1974) {*6} and BEFORE THE DELUGE (1975) {*5}, both latter titles coming from cover songs written by CAPTAIN BEEFHEART and JACKSON BROWNE respectively. In 1976 she divorced from Nicholas, who was later stung in the Lloyd’s of London financial crisis of the 90s.
With arranger Paul Buckmaster on board at first, her affiliations strayed into jazz-rock territory on subsequent sets from 1978’s FROM EAST TO WEST {*4} to 1986’s STRANGE AFFAIR {*4}. As an author, SHUSHA was to publish several novels, including her award-winning first book in 1988, `The Blindfold Horse: Memoirs Of A Persian Childhood’. Sadly, she died of cancer on 21st March 2008 in London, leaving behind two sons, one being the infamous yuppie socialite Darius Guppy, who was convicted (and jailed in February 1993) for fraud, larceny and false accounting for his part in a faked jewel robbery that Lloyd’s claimed was worth nearly £2 million.
© MC Strong 2010/GFD // rev-up MCS Dec2016

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