New East Digital Archive

“Queen of Romany music” Esma Redžepova dies

12 December 2016

Esma Redžepova, known as “Queen of Romany music”, died yesterday in the Macedonian capital, Skopje.

Redžepova will be remembered both for her exceptionally powerful voice and for helping to alter perceptions of Romany culture worldwide — she was among the first vocalists to record in the Romany language.

The singer, who died at the age of 73 after a brief illness, represented Macedonia in the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest and was the voice behind the opening credits for the film Borat (2006), as well as the principal vocalist of her husband Stevo Teodosievski’s ensemble. She had a rich and varied repertoire, bringing both traditional Roma and Macedonian music together with contemporary genres such as pop and electronic music, and often collaborated with young singers from across the Balkan region.

Known also for her humanitarian work, which included fostering 47 children, Redžepova was nominated three times for the Nobel Peace Prize. Despite her efforts to advocate for the rights of Roma women and battle racism, she herself endured prejudice from the Roma community for marrying a non-Roma Macedonian.

Source: BBC News