Esma Redžepova, Macedonian Romani singer, Died at 73


Esma Redžepova-Teodosievska was born on August 8, 1943 and died on December 11, 2016.

She was a Macedonian vocalist, songwriter, and humanitarian of Romani ethnicity.

Esma had a prolific repertoire, which includes hundreds of songs, and because of her contribution to Roma culture and its promotion, she was nicknamed Queen of the Gypsies.

Esma began to sing while she was a teenager in the 1950s and her career spans over five decades.

Esma Redžepova musical success was closely linked to her marriage with Stevo Teodosievski, who was a composer, arranger, and director of a musical ensemble, the Ansambl Teodosievski.

Redžepova wrote many of her songs and fully managed her career until his death in 1997.

Esma Redžepova’s musical style was mostly inspired by traditional Roma and Macedonian music.

Her other influences are also noticeable, such as pop music.

She started her career at a period when Romani music was very denigrated in Yugoslavia and Roma people considered it shameful for women to sing in public.

She was one of the first singers to sing in Romani language on radio and television.

Redžepova was most notable for her powerful and emotional voice.

During 2010, Esma was cited among the 50 great voices in the world by NPR, a prominent American media organization.

She was also noted for her extravagant attires and her turbans, as well as the use she makes of typical stereotypes about Roma women, such as sensuality and happiness.

During 2010, Esma was awarded the Macedonian Order of Merit, and she was entitled National Artist of the Republic of Macedonia in 2013 by the Macedonian President, Gjorgje Ivanov.

She had married her manager, Stevo Teodosievski, in 1968.

Esma Redžepova passed away at 75 years old.