The Queen of Gypsy Music: Esma Redžepova

September this year I was invited by the Government of the Republic of Serbia. I still feel very honored to be in touch with Dragoljub Acković, Director of the “Office of Human and Minority Rights of the Government of the Republic of Serbia.”, who is supporting my Balkan and Roma Project.

Afterwards I have had the great pleasure to meet the famous "Queen of Gypsy Music"  Esma Redžepova in her private house in Shutka (Macedonia). She is such lovely lady. But unfortunately she felt indisposed to be portrayed by me. Anyway I got the chance to take a photograph of one of her nieces and nephews in front of a oversized painting of her.

Shutka is the largest concentrated Roma population in the world and is just a 15-20 minute car ride from central Skopje. Romani is an official language, the mayor is an ethnic Roma, and they even have their own Romani TV and radio stations, newspaper, and flag.  Pretty huge achievement for a minority that is used to facing nothing but discrimination or forced assimilation in every other European country.

Shutka certainly is a sea of stories and now my dream is to go back for wedding season one of these days. I’d also like to meet Esma once again. See you soon.

Esma Redžepova