A friend of mine, Sasha Teshic, a graphic designer, started making drawings of female superheroes and linking these banners with a short biography of them. Inspired by that, I started thinking of Balkan superheroes. Not just females, but males, children and everyone else.
Probably the fact that I belong to a generation that has accepted nomadism as a lifestyle, makes me very emotional and curious about Romas and their lives. On the other hand, originating from a small country always requires mentioning several famous people from here so the people can have a clear picture of the place. Always with huge pride, I am mentioning Tose Proeski, the angel from Balkan and Esma Redzepova, the Roma queen that makes me cry every time I am listening to her music. I have zero knowledge of Roma language, but I cry, as I said, usually while listening to her songs. Music is magic!
She died in 2016 at age of 73 as one of the favorite Balkan public personas. Aside from her amazing specific voice and hard work related to music, the fact that she adopted and raised 48 kids, made her a Nobel peace prize candidate for two times, and happy fulfilled mother for an infinite number of times. As I mentioned in my story, Longing for India, Roma people never had “honey and milk” in their lives, so this fact adds value to her fulfillment.
In 2010, Esma Redzepova was placed on the list of the world’s 50 greatest voices, alongside Ella Fitzgerald, Plácido Domingo, Janis Joplin and Freddie Mercury. This is what Washington Post classical music critic Anne Midgette wrote after hearing Esma Redzepova for the first time:
Redzepova has a voice that sounds like a beat-up Mustang barreling along a street full of potholes: it’s gamy and battered and tough and it’s been places.
At a music festival in India in 1976, this superwoman got her crown and was announced for a Queen of the Roma music by Indira Gandhi. I dare you to listen to her music and not to cry at all! She has a voice that carries thousands of kilometers in it and still has the warmth and coziness of a home.