Macedonia's 'gypsy music queen' Esma Redžepova dies

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Esma Redžepova, a Macedonian singer nicknamed the "Queen of Gypsy Music", was on Sunday reported to have died. She was 73.

Redžepova at the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest.
Image: Albin Olsson.

An ethnic Roma, Redžepova spent decades performing and was an early Balkan singer to use the Romany language. She combined Roma, Macedonian, and contemporary music in her work and also campaigned for humanitarian issues such as women's rights and for Roma people.

Her worldwide career saw her collaborate with many young Balkan artists as well as composer Stevo Teodosievski, whom she married. She was thrice nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and fostered over 40 children. Her varied performances included singing for world leaders, representing Macedonia at the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest, and recording the opening song for the film Borat.

She was also known for eye-catching outfits. Redžepova died after an illness in Skopje.