The Queen of Gypsy Music, Esma Redžepova, has passed away today at the age of 73. She represented FYR Macedonia in Eurovision 2013 along with Vlatko Lozanoski, singing Pred da se razdeni.
Esma’s musical career began in 1956, winning a school talent competition of Radio Skopje. Her first EP, Abre babi sokerdžan, was released in 1961, and during her 60 years long career, she released 15 EPs and 24 studio albums in total, participated in numerous films and held no less than 12,000 solo concerts around the world.
Among the prizes she received, Esma was awarded the Queen of Gypsy Music title at the Gypsy World Festival which was held in India that year, and the National artist of Macedonia award in 2013.
Being a Roma, Esma supported Roma and Women rights and was involved in the local politics in Skopje. Having no children, she fostered no less than 47 deprived children with her husband during the 1970s and the 1980s.
Esma’s first touch with the Eurovision Song Contest took place in 2006 as she finished second in the Macedonian national final, only 133 votes away from the winner. She was chosen internally to represent FYR Macedonia in 2013 with Vlakto Lozanoski, first with the song Imperija that was later on replaced by Pred da se razdeni.
Esma passed away due to a short but serious illness. She was hospitalized two weeks ago.