Growing up and listing to all forms of Middle Eastern music allowed me to enter the world of Roma, music of the Balkans. As I got older and become more interested in varying forms of music, I discovered the varies forms of Balkan music, no less was the music of Macedonia. This folk music was especially of interest to me due to the similarities of rhythm and sounds to Greek and Armenian music. One of the icons of this music was a vocalist that I always listened to and referred to her as “Gypsy Esma“. Sadly, Esma Redzepva passed away on December 11, 2016 after a short illness at a young age of 73.
I first heard Esma on an old record where she sang the famous Greek folk song Hoppa Nina Nay. I loved this recording especially of the musicians and listened to this song several times. I recently found it on YouTube, you can CLICK HERE to hear a young Esma.
She surrounded herself with exceptional musicians over the years and was an energetic performer.
Here is another clip of Esma in the 1960s on television. You have to watch the young darbuka player. What great energy!
Esma not only preserved her heritage by performing Macedonian music, she composed music over the years with the same flavor as the folk melodies she was famous for. A true icon in our music and a voice we will miss forever.
Here are additional great examples of Esma and her music: