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Esma Redzepova, 'Queen of Gypsy music', dies at 73

Beloved Balkan musical Esma Redzepova passed away in a Skopje hospital, according to local reports. Redzepova sang worldwide for over 60 years.

Esma Redzepova, the prolific singer dubbed the "Queen of Gypsy music," died Sunday in a hospital in Skopje, Macedonia, according to the hospital and family. She was 73.

An ethnic Roma, Redzepova would wear eye-catching clothes to match her powerful and emotionally captivating voice. She was one of the first Balkan singers to sing in the Romany language, and her works mixed traditional Roma and Macedonian music with contemporary sounds. Over the course of her career, which spanned over a half a century, she performed at venues around the globe, including a legendary 1962 concert at the Olympia concert hall in Paris, and for several world leaders.

Redzepova was named one of the 50 greatest voices in the world by American National Public Radio in 2010, and she represented Macedonia in the 2013 edition of the famed Eurovision song competition.

The 'Queen of Gypsy music' was not only an artist, but also served as a humanitarian for many causes. She was a prominent voice for women's rights, in particular speaking out for the emancipation of Roma women. She spoke and sang publicly in favor of many causes. Redzepova and her husband, composer Stevo Teodosievski, also adopted 47 children and ensured their education. 

kbd/kl (AFP, AP)

 

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