The “Queen of Romani Song” Esma Redzepova & The Folk Masters Band

Kitka announces Voice of Roma’s 19th annual Herdeljezi Romani Music Festival, featuring the legendary “Queen of Romani Song” Esma Redzepova & The Folk Masters Band from Macedonia in their final U.S. tour. This yearly event organized by Voice of Roma, a human rights advocacy organization dedicated to the promotion of Romani (Gypsy) cultural arts and traditions, celebrates Balkan Romani music, dance and culture. An evening concert and dance party will culminate a series of workshops for singers, instrumentalists and dancers. The Festival takes place Saturday, April 30 in Reidenbach Hall at First Congregational Church of Oakland.

Esma is internationally acclaimed as the “Queen of Romani Song,” and has been hailed by NPR
as one of the world’s “50 Great Voices.” Born in Skopje, Republic of Macedonia, she began her
professional career at the age of thirteen. She was the first Balkan performer to make Romani
music popular with non-Romani audiences on elite concert stages in the early 1960s. Esma, who sings in over ten languages, earned the title “Queen of Romani Song” at the World Festival of Romani Music in India in 1976. At the Festival of Roma Experiences in Moscow in 2000, she was proclaimed Laureate and Roma Singer of the Century. In 2013 she represented Macedonia in the Eurovision Song Contest. Esma has performed for many heads of state and has toured for more than four decades, giving more than 8,000 concerts in over 30 countries. Her appearance in Oakland marks the culmination of her U.S. tour, one which she insists will be her last overseas.

WHAT: Kitka presents Voice of Roma’s 19th annual Herdeljezi Romani Music Festival featuring Esma Redzepova & The Folk Masters Band.

WHO: Esma Redzepova, vocals; Simeon Atanasov, accordion; Filip Nunevski, trumpet; Aleksandar Stamenkovski, guitar; Nikola Mitrovikj, bass; Safet Demirov, drums

WHEN: Saturday, April 30, 2016, 5 - 6:30 p.m. Romani vocal and instrumental workshops with Esma Redzepova & The Folk Masters Band
6:45 - 7:45 p.m.  Panel discussion on Romani culture, music, history and human rights with Kosovo Romani activist and dance teacher Sani Rifati and Carol Silverman, Professor at the University of Oregon
8 - 8:30 p.m.  Romani dance workshop with Sani Rifati
8 p.m. Concert and dance party with Esma Redzepova & the Folk Masters Band

WHERE: Reidenbach Hall at First Congregational Church of Oakland, 2501 Harrison Street, Oakland, CA 94612

• Concert and dance party with Esma and her Folk Masters band: $27 advance, $30 door (includes admission to the panel discussion at 6:15 p.m. and the dance workshop at 7:30 p.m.); free admission for kids under 12.
• Singing and Instrumental Workshops: $30 each
• Festival Pass: $55 (includes admission to all workshops, the panel discussion and the party)
• Reservations may be made online at or by calling 800-838-3006.

Esma on YouTube:
Voice of Roma: