Gypsy music queen Esma Redžepova dies

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Skopje: Esma Redžepova, Macedonian singer nicknamed the “Queen of Gypsy Music”, died after a brief illness, according to local media. She was 73 years old.

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, though she claimed the song had been used without her permission, and was unhappy with the film’s portrayal of a backwards, non-western culture.

She was known for eye-catching outfits and powerful voice, Redžepova was also an advocate for Roma women’s rights. She had been elected twice as the city councillor.

Redžepova died after an illness in Skopje.

From Wikinews under Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence