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Esma Redžepova-Teodosievska was a Yugoslav and later Macedonian vocalist, songwriter, and humanitarian of Romani ethnicity. Together with singer Lozano, represented Macedonia in the 2013 contest in Malmö where they failed to qualify for the final.

Redžepova passed away in the early hours of 11th December 2016, after a battle with a short illness.

About

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

With her late husband Stevo Teodosievski she fostered forty-seven children and received numerous accolades for her humanitarian work. She supported Roma and women rights and was also involved in local politics in her hometown, Skopje.

Career

She started to sing while she was a teenager in the 1950s, and her career spanned over five decades. Her musical success is closely linked to her marriage with Stevo Teodosievski, who was a composer, arranger and director of a musical ensemble, the Ansambl Teodosievski. He wrote many of her songs and fully managed her career until his death in 1997. Her musical style is mostly inspired by traditional Roma and Macedonian music.

Some other influences are also noticeable, such as pop music. Esma Redžepova 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. Redžepova was one of the first singers to sing in Romani language on radio and television.

Redžepova is particularly noted for her powerful and emotional voice. In 2010, she was cited among the 50 great voices in the world by NPR, a prominent American media organization. Redžepova is 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. In 2010, she 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.

References

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