Roma artists

 
Esma Redžepova   Pop music has its king, while gypsy music has a queen.  Esma Redžepova is the first name you will stumble upon if you are looking for information about Roma music. Esma was born in a village near Skopje in 1943.  She was nominated twice for the Nobel Peace Prize for her humanitarian work. Although she never had children, she and her husband Stevo Theodosieviki took in 48 children and adopted five. Some of them joined their ensemble and others began successful music careers.  With more than 8,000 solo concerts around the world, more than 100 songs and 15 albums, Esma Redžepova remains a musical legend not only in the Balkans, but around the world.

Esma Redžepova

Pop music has its king, while gypsy music has a queen.

Esma Redžepova is the first name you will stumble upon if you are looking for information about Roma music. Esma was born in a village near Skopje in 1943.

She was nominated twice for the Nobel Peace Prize for her humanitarian work. Although she never had children, she and her husband Stevo Theodosieviki took in 48 children and adopted five. Some of them joined their ensemble and others began successful music careers.

With more than 8,000 solo concerts around the world, more than 100 songs and 15 albums, Esma Redžepova remains a musical legend not only in the Balkans, but around the world.

Jean Reinhardt – Django   Before the world fell in love with the Gipsy Kings, the hearts of melomaniacs thumped to the rhythm of gypsy jazz and its creator.  Jean-Reinhardt, known by his artistic pseudonym, Django Reinhardt, was a Roma jazz guitarist who started the gypsy jazz style in France. At the age of 18, he lost the use of several fingers of his left hand in a fire in his home. In spite of the circumstances and medical predictions that he will never hold a guitar again, Django learned to play brilliantly, using only his index and middle finger on his left hand.  Today, Jango Reinhart is recognized as one of the greatest guitarists of all time. Part of the musical heritage that he leaves behind includes a new technique for jazz guitar performances and over 900 recordings of the magical gypsy jazz.   Immerse yourself  in Django’s hot jazz.

Jean Reinhardt – Django

Before the world fell in love with the Gipsy Kings, the hearts of melomaniacs thumped to the rhythm of gypsy jazz and its creator.

Jean-Reinhardt, known by his artistic pseudonym, Django Reinhardt, was a Roma jazz guitarist who started the gypsy jazz style in France. At the age of 18, he lost the use of several fingers of his left hand in a fire in his home. In spite of the circumstances and medical predictions that he will never hold a guitar again, Django learned to play brilliantly, using only his index and middle finger on his left hand.

Today, Jango Reinhart is recognized as one of the greatest guitarists of all time. Part of the musical heritage that he leaves behind includes a new technique for jazz guitar performances and over 900 recordings of the magical gypsy jazz.

Immerse yourself in Django’s hot jazz.

Vasil Boyanov - Azis   Provocative videos, popularity in Bulgaria and abroad, and an ongoing presence on the music scene in the last 20 years. This is Vasil Boyanov - Azis.  The most popular artist of Roma origin in Bulgaria chose the name of the main character of a Turkish soap opera as his artistic pseudonym. In addition to a series of studio albums, singles and concerts, Azis has also participated in a number of TV shows. In recent years, he has been involved in campaigns in support of LGBTI youth, and has expressed his position on Roma integration.

Vasil Boyanov - Azis

Provocative videos, popularity in Bulgaria and abroad, and an ongoing presence on the music scene in the last 20 years. This is Vasil Boyanov - Azis.

The most popular artist of Roma origin in Bulgaria chose the name of the main character of a Turkish soap opera as his artistic pseudonym. In addition to a series of studio albums, singles and concerts, Azis has also participated in a number of TV shows. In recent years, he has been involved in campaigns in support of LGBTI youth, and has expressed his position on Roma integration.

Sali Ibrahim   With her performance, the singer Sophie Marinova has succeeded in popularizing the Roma anthem "Vasilitsa". Less familiar to the audience, however, is the name of the author of the song – Sali Ibrahim.  Sali is a Bulgarian poet and a public figure of Roma origin. She is the author of five poetry collections and her work has been translated into Spanish, Polish and Serbian. The poet is the winner of many international awards, including the award of the President of the Republic of Italy for her poetry book "Gypsy Visions".

Sali Ibrahim

With her performance, the singer Sophie Marinova has succeeded in popularizing the Roma anthem "Vasilitsa". Less familiar to the audience, however, is the name of the author of the song – Sali Ibrahim.

Sali is a Bulgarian poet and a public figure of Roma origin. She is the author of five poetry collections and her work has been translated into Spanish, Polish and Serbian. The poet is the winner of many international awards, including the award of the President of the Republic of Italy for her poetry book "Gypsy Visions".

Carmen Amaya   They say that true flamenco dancers do not need teachers because they carry the music in their blood.  One of the most brilliant self-taught female flamenco stars, known as "the greatest Spanish dancer of Roma origin of her time,” is Carmen Amaya. She started her career when she was only four years old. Carmen did not only dance flamenco, but overcame the various hurdles that she encountered along her way.  She learned to perform movements based on rapid motions of the legs and heel tapping, which, because of their speed, had until then been performed by men alone. She danced with high waist trousers instead of skirts and appeared in films. She performed flamenco at the White House at the invitation of Franklin Roosevelt, and later on at the invitation of Harry Truman.   Watch Carmen perform  her powerful flamenco.

Carmen Amaya

They say that true flamenco dancers do not need teachers because they carry the music in their blood.

One of the most brilliant self-taught female flamenco stars, known as "the greatest Spanish dancer of Roma origin of her time,” is Carmen Amaya. She started her career when she was only four years old. Carmen did not only dance flamenco, but overcame the various hurdles that she encountered along her way.

She learned to perform movements based on rapid motions of the legs and heel tapping, which, because of their speed, had until then been performed by men alone. She danced with high waist trousers instead of skirts and appeared in films. She performed flamenco at the White House at the invitation of Franklin Roosevelt, and later on at the invitation of Harry Truman.

Watch Carmen perform her powerful flamenco.

Ivo Papazov (Ibryama)   "You get dizzy if you start following Papazov's fingers ..." – this is how a German critic defines the mastery of Ivo Papazov (nicknamed  Ibryama)  during his performance at a festival in Bonn.  The Bulgarian clarinet player of Roma origin has been highly celebrated not only in Germany. In the late 1980s, Ibryama managed to sign a contract with the British label Hannibal Records, which released two of his albums, a mixture of jazz, Thracian folk, Roma and Turkish music.  Ivo Papazov's encounter with music began in his childhood, as he comes from a family of clarinet musicians. He started playing as a child and set up his first orchestra only at the age of 22.

Ivo Papazov (Ibryama)

"You get dizzy if you start following Papazov's fingers ..." – this is how a German critic defines the mastery of Ivo Papazov (nicknamed Ibryama) during his performance at a festival in Bonn.

The Bulgarian clarinet player of Roma origin has been highly celebrated not only in Germany. In the late 1980s, Ibryama managed to sign a contract with the British label Hannibal Records, which released two of his albums, a mixture of jazz, Thracian folk, Roma and Turkish music.

Ivo Papazov's encounter with music began in his childhood, as he comes from a family of clarinet musicians. He started playing as a child and set up his first orchestra only at the age of 22.

Usin Kerim   1955 - 2003: this is the period in which a poet of Roma origin managed to write and publish 11 poetry books.  Usin Kerim grew up in Teteven, and as a student-brigadier, he started writing his first poems. In the mid-1950's, he became a correspondent for the "Homeland Front" newspaper for the regions of Sliven and Yambol. Later he became the editor of the regional newspapers in Haskovo and Razgrad.  Usin Kerim moved to Chepelare, where he spent most of his life. In 2010, the Chepelare Municipality established the national poetry award "Usin Kerim", which is given every two years to Bulgarian poets.

Usin Kerim

1955 - 2003: this is the period in which a poet of Roma origin managed to write and publish 11 poetry books.

Usin Kerim grew up in Teteven, and as a student-brigadier, he started writing his first poems. In the mid-1950's, he became a correspondent for the "Homeland Front" newspaper for the regions of Sliven and Yambol. Later he became the editor of the regional newspapers in Haskovo and Razgrad.

Usin Kerim moved to Chepelare, where he spent most of his life. In 2010, the Chepelare Municipality established the national poetry award "Usin Kerim", which is given every two years to Bulgarian poets.

Ceija Stojka   Hundreds of thousands of Roma people were among those who died in concentration camps during the Second World War. Ceija Stojka is one of the few who survived the Auschwitz concentration camp.  Ceija is of Roma origin. She was born in the year Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany. In Auschwitz, she lost her brother and father. In her book, titled ‘We Live in Seclusion: The Memories of a Romani,’ she speaks of the loss and her experience in the camp. Published in 1988, the work is one of the first to tell of the persecution of Austrian Roma by the Nazis. “I reached for the pen because I had to open myself, to scream,” she says.  At 56, she began painting, using "everything that comes between her fingers." With her art, she has managed to attract international attention to the fate of the Roma during the Second World War.

Ceija Stojka

Hundreds of thousands of Roma people were among those who died in concentration camps during the Second World War. Ceija Stojka is one of the few who survived the Auschwitz concentration camp.

Ceija is of Roma origin. She was born in the year Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany. In Auschwitz, she lost her brother and father. In her book, titled ‘We Live in Seclusion: The Memories of a Romani,’ she speaks of the loss and her experience in the camp. Published in 1988, the work is one of the first to tell of the persecution of Austrian Roma by the Nazis. “I reached for the pen because I had to open myself, to scream,” she says.

At 56, she began painting, using "everything that comes between her fingers." With her art, she has managed to attract international attention to the fate of the Roma during the Second World War.

Yashar Malikov   Yashar Malikov is the most famous Bulgarian composer of Roma songs. Although he had no musical education, Yashar had a long musical career behind him. He started out as a musician at the Gypsy Theater "Roma" and then became an organizer for the radio shows with Gypsy folk music. He was also the creator of the first Balkanton recordings. Balkanton was a state-owned record manufacturing company in Bulgaria founded in 1952  Yashar was the first in another field besides music - in 1992, he wrote and published the first Roma-Bulgarian dictionary.

Yashar Malikov

Yashar Malikov is the most famous Bulgarian composer of Roma songs. Although he had no musical education, Yashar had a long musical career behind him. He started out as a musician at the Gypsy Theater "Roma" and then became an organizer for the radio shows with Gypsy folk music. He was also the creator of the first Balkanton recordings. Balkanton was a state-owned record manufacturing company in Bulgaria founded in 1952

Yashar was the first in another field besides music - in 1992, he wrote and published the first Roma-Bulgarian dictionary.

Georgi Parushev   Two poetry collections and a novel, which was published in 2007 – these are the literary works that the only published Roma novelist on the Balkans, Georgi Parushev, has left behind.  Georgi’s works have been translated into Russian, English, French and Romani. He began his career as a journalist in various periodicals. However, his texts were often rejected by publishers because they addressed Roma topics. After the democratic transition in Bulgaria, he created and became the editor of the Roma journal "Gitana".  Georgi Parushev is the editor of the only anthology of Bulgarian Roma writers.

Georgi Parushev

Two poetry collections and a novel, which was published in 2007 – these are the literary works that the only published Roma novelist on the Balkans, Georgi Parushev, has left behind.

Georgi’s works have been translated into Russian, English, French and Romani. He began his career as a journalist in various periodicals. However, his texts were often rejected by publishers because they addressed Roma topics. After the democratic transition in Bulgaria, he created and became the editor of the Roma journal "Gitana".

Georgi Parushev is the editor of the only anthology of Bulgarian Roma writers.

 

Illustrations by: Borislava Willnevermadeit Illustration

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