Uzbekistan's first daughter to release new album

Published April 6, 2012 11:00AM (EDT)

ALMATY, Kazakhstan (AP) — The jet-setting daughter of Uzbekistan's aging authoritarian president says she's releasing a new music album.

Gulnara Karimova, who is alternately admired and despised by her fellow countrymen in the former Soviet Central Asian republic, wrote on Twitter that the songs on the album are based on her own life experiences.

Karimova has frequently been touted as a potential successor to her iron-fisted, long-ruling father, 74-year old former Communist Party boss Islam Karimov. But so far, at least, the 39-year-old appears to prefer fashion design and pop music to political maneuvering.

Karimova did not say when the album will be released, although she has already uploaded one track to the Internet.

"All my songs are spoken for different moments of my life," Karimova wrote in English on her Twitter account. "The music is an experiment from trip-hop to soft rock and even pop."

Karimova performs under the name GooGoosha, which is reportedly her father's favorite nickname for her. In an earlier stage of her on-and-off pop career, she performed the Latin classic "Besame Mucho" with Spanish crooner Julio Igelsias.

Uzbekistan, a mainly Muslim nation of almost 28 million people, is strategically placed along a key transportation route supplying U.S.-led coalition troops in neighboring Afghanistan.

The country is rich in natural gas and gold and is one of the world largest cotton producers, making it potentially attractive to investors.

Many in Uzbekistan remain mired in crushing poverty, however, making Karimova's opulent lifestyle the subject of heated criticism.

A recent Russian edition of celebrity magazine Hello! includes a lavish spread on Karimova's country home near the Uzbek capital, Tashkent.

Last year, the producers of New York's Fashion Week canceled a show by Karimova under pressure from a human rights group protesting child labor in her homeland.

While Karimova is feted in Uzbekistan as a diplomat, academic and philanthropist devoted to the cause of disadvantaged women and children, her many critics say she has used her power to forcibly take over businesses in the country.


Online track from Karimova album:

By Salon Staff

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