esma-11Esma Redzepova Teodosievska, the Macedonian singer who was acclaimed for decades as the greatest female voice in Gypsy music, died on Sunday in Skopje, the capital of Macedonia. The cause was pneumonia.  She was 73.

In a duet with the pop singer Vlatko Lozanoski –  Lozano, she represented Macedonia on 2013 Eurovision Song Contest.

Ms. Redzepova was born on Aug. 8, 1943, in Skopje, as the youngest of six children. Her father, was a singer and drummer, performed at weddings, and her family encouraged her to learn Romani music. In 1956 she won a music contest on Radio Skopje.  One listener was Stevo Teodosievski, composer and accordionist, who went on to become her mentor, manager, bandleader and, in 1968, her husband.

Mr. Teodosievski bring her to Belgrade, the capital of Yugoslavia, where she studied for two years at the Academy of Music and then joined his ensemble. She promised her father she would not sing at bars or restaurants. She made her first album with the Ansambl Teodosievski in 1961, including “Chaje Shukarije,” which she had written when she was 9 years old.

Ms. Redzepova sang in more than 10 languages and recorded more than 500 songs. She was a pioneer in bringing wider recognition and respect to Romani music.  In 2006, one of her first and most widely beloved songs, “Chaje Shukarije” (“Beautiful Girl”), was heard behind the opening credits of Sacha Baron Cohen’s hit movie comedy “Borat”- although that placement deeply displeased her.

She was also a humanitarian and cultural activist, she raised 48 foster children, who studied music at a school she founded with her husband. Some went on to accompany her onstage.

She performed more than 1.000 benefit concerts – for orphanages, hospitals, refugees and disabled people, among other causes- and worked on behalf of Roma refugees from Kosovo, for which she was named an honorary president of the Macedonia Red Cross.

 Redzepova- Teodosievski had been building the Home of Humanity and Museum of Romani Music in Skopje.

She toured worldwide, becoming the first Yugoslav musician to appear at the Olympia in Paris and appearing repeatedly in Europe, the Americas and India, the ancestral home of the Roma people.  At the first Gypsy World Music Festival, a gathering of Roma musicians from 23 countries held in India in 1976, she was crowned Queen of Romani Songs by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. At the Festival of Roma Experiences 2000 in Moscow, she was named Roma Singer of the Century.

In 1989, as Yugoslavia was breaking up, she and her husband returned to live in Skopje.  Mr. Teodosievski died in 1997, and Ms. Redzepova had no immediate survivors.

In 2001 she was a showstopper during Gypsy Caravan, a United States tour by five international Romany groups that was filmed for a 2006 documentary, “Tales of a Gypsy Caravan.”

Two times she was nominated for Nobel prize.  In 2010, the president of Macedonia gave her the Macedonian Order of Merit, and in 2013 she was proclaimed a National Artist of Macedonia.

“Pred da se razdeni” (“Before the Sun rises”), a macedonia’s entry for the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest.

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