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Nana Mouskouri, the White Rose of Athens, is blooming again. Ten years after announcing her retirement, she’s undergone a miraculous osmosis. Whatever they put in the soil in her native Greece has created a hardy perennial.

Six months after celebrating her 80th birthday, the world’s second best-selling female singer (after Madonna) is coming to Australia. The last time she was here in 2005 was to say goodbye, but she found retirement didn’t suit her. Now she’s back, ladling out her lyrics to an adoring crowd on a year-long world tour. So why the about-turn? “My whole life was running from one place to another,” she says on the phone from her home in Geneva, in a warm, raspy voice with so many mixed accents it is best described as “Mediterranean”.

She loves her audience and they respond in bucket loads. To date, Mouskouri has sold more than 300 million records and received over 300 gold, platinum and diamond discs. It’s not just the silver surfers that love her, or the huge Greek diaspora; she also has a thriving gay following, a devoted band of Nana-raks and Mousketeers

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