Esma Redzepova

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Esma Redzepova was born in 1943 in Skopje in the former Republic of Yugoslavia (nowadays the Republic of North Macedonia). She is known worldwide for being a singer and composer who gave more than 9,000 concerts all over the world and also for her humanitarian actions and the help provided to people of Roma origin and refugees from Kosovo.

Esma was the second youngest daughter of a 6-sibling Roma family in North Macedonia and at the age of 14 she was invited to sing in a singing contest in Skopje Radio. She won the contest against other 57 schools and she also won 9,000 dinars that helped her family. During the contest, she also met Stevo who later became her husband.
With the permission of her parents, she decided to join Stevo, who had his own music band and started making concerts all over the country. She then became one of the main exponents of Roma music in Europe and is considered to be the Queen of Romani music.

Apart from that, Esma has also been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for her humanitarian work. Together with her husband she adopted 47 teenagers and educated them in music and cultural traditions before they were eighteen. All these members of the family have become musicians, composers or something related to music and culture.

She has also been an ambassador for many advocacy and assistance campaigns for underprivileged Roma youth and Kosovar refugees and she was the Honorary president of the North Macedonian Red Cross. Esma died in 2016 but her music and her humanitarian work will be remembered forever.