Esma Redzepova, Macedonia's 'Romany music queen', dies at 73

media captionArchive performances by Esma Redzepova

Macedonia's "Romany music queen", one of the first vocalists to sing in the Romany language, has died aged 73.

Esma Redzepova died in Skopje following a short illness, according to hospital and family sources.

Redzepova represented Macedonia in Eurovision 2013 and sung the opening credits for the 2006 film Borat.

But she boasted a career spanning more than five decades, during which she battled racism and prejudice of various kinds.

Redzepova spoke out for the rights of Roma women, and against the criticism of her career and choice to marry and collaborate with composer Stevo Teodosievski, who was not from the Roma community.

Her humanitarian work, which extended to fostering 47 children over her lifetime, led her to be nominated three times for the Nobel Peace Prize, according to the Roma Times.

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image captionMacedonia's Esma Redzepova, pictured in 2006, died following a short illness
image copyrightEPA
image captionRedzepova, pictured in 2012, fostered 47 children

Redzepova, who performed at venues across the world over the course of her career, was first acclaimed as the Queen of Romany Song in 1976, at a world festival of Romany music held in India.

Known for her extravagant outfits and perfectly-controlled powerful voice, she had a rich repertoire of hundreds of songs, mixing traditional Roma and Macedonian music with contemporary sound, including pop and electro music, working closely with young artists across the Balkans.

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