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Mon Histoire // My Story

Reine des Tsiganes // The Queen of the Gypsies

Featuring the French guitarist Titi Robin.
An invigorating voice, an earthy life, a great involvement for freedom… the emblematic figure of the Gypsies, comes back with an outstanding album reflecting he brilliant career.

Resulting from a long process and a particular complicity with the artistic director, Martina A. Catella, Esma Redzepova clears off the sounds of synthesizer and other artifices to release a disc with the flavour of a family album, festive, intimate and confident.
Titi Robin, creator, guitarist, passionate musician about the music of the Gypsies from Rajasthan or from the East, from Spain and from France, a fan of the Madame since the beginning, is the delicate receiver of the biographic tale. Within five complete songs, he renders homage to Esma but also to all the Rom people that have nourished his life of music. With this privileged travel companion, Esma Redzepova goes back into her archives, beginning by recent works, to her childhood near the village Skopje where Emir Kusturica shot the movie “The Time of the Gypsies”, to her parents, her encounter with her master and future husband, Stevo Teodosievski, to their incredible family of some 47 adopted children playing and singing at their side...
Great and little stories incarnated in songs; an aunt sold to a rich merchant, sweeps dancing on the roof of the houses, marriage parties, the paths of exile... Besides Titi Robin, Esma is accompanied by the “Stevo & Ansambl”, eminent musicians that at the beginning were all adopted children of the couple (the accordion is played by Simeon Atanasov, who also makes the arrangements, the clarinet is played by Zahir Ramadanov, the trumpet and the percussion are played, respectively, by Macev Bilhan and Antonijo Zekirovski).

The two archives come from recordings of the 1960's, the “Hajri Ma te dike/Cursed be you, mother” (song 13) was notably an emblem of resistance for the outraged women, denouncing the injustice, particularly at the time that Esma was discovered in France, thanks to her performance at the Olympia hall in Paris (in 1962). Striving tirelessly for the liberties, she was remarkable during the war in Ex-Yugoslavia for her defense of the Rom culture and her political positions, claiming notably for a world without frontiers for the Rom people. Esma has always surpassed her time and her frontiers, proudly displaying her diplomatic passport, and her two nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize !...

The booklet consigned by the writer Jordan Plevnes (“La Huitième Merveille du Monde”; La Table Ronde, Paris 2006) reviews the main stages of the life of this voice that “wakes up the deaths”, the memory and the history, and whose burning fervour, supported by the rhythm of the brass, joggles like a dizziness between happiness and desperation to burst into a sob in front of a glass of plum alcohol (slivovitch)! The cover design is due to the photographer, painter and director Eric Roux-Fontaine, a specialist in nomad cultures, who has had many exhibitions and publications. Among others, “Rajashtan voyage aux sources gitanes” (éditions du Garde Temps) with texts of Titi Robin.

Distribution :

Esma Redzepova : vocals
Gildas Boclé : doublebass
Simeon Atanasov : accordion
Zahir Ramadanov : clarinet
Macev Bilhan : trumpet
Antonijo Zekirovski : percussion
Titi Robin : guitar

Collection VOX POPULI

CD - AC 119 - 2007
Harmonia Mundi