() is a Romani Macedonian
vocalist, songwriter, and humanitarian
born in Skopje
, SFR Yugoslavia
(today Republic of Macedonia
). During her life she has performed in more than 9000 concerts in 30 countries, with her late husband Stevo Teodosievski
she has fostered
forty-seven children, and she has received numerous accolades for her humanitarian work.
Early life and background
Esma was born on August 8, 1943, in Skopje
, now the capital of Macedonia
. She is the second youngest of six children in a Gypsy family. They were relatively (but not abjectly) poor growing up, her father working variously as a porter
, circus strongman
. Her parents stressed that all six children finish primary school. At age nine Esma was introduced by one of her brothers to a local Romani music
organisation, where she was able to quickly learn complicated rhythms. Her mother encouraged her musical gifts and Esma and her brother soon joined their school's folklore group.
In 1957, age 14, she was personally invited to sing at a school talent contest... Read More