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Leonidas Economou

(b 1938; d London, England, April 2, 1989). Greek Roma singer. He was born in a caravan between the cities of Kavala and Drama in Greece, orphaned at an early age, and worked hard to make a living for himself and his family. He made his first recordings in 1956 and became widely known in 1958 with the Indian-style song ‘Magala’. In the following years, he cooperated with some of the best laiko creators, had many hits, performed in the best nightclubs, and appeared in numerous films. His bass but tender voice and his highly ornamented vocal styles, his repertory of orientalist songs and socially sensitive texts, and his bold public assertion of his ethnic and social identity, were warmly received by working-class audiences. He became a social hero for the Roma and one of the most popular laiko singers of the late 1950s and the 1960s. From the late 1960s his career declined, due to the general change of commercial policies, the political environment, and popular taste, but he continued to cooperate with important creators and to record hits like ‘...


Mikaela Minga

( b Leskovik, Kolonjë, Albania, ? 1885; d Istanbul, Turkey, ? 1965). Albanian singer of Romani origins . Both her father and brother were saze musicians, a typical ensemble in south Albania, consisting usually of a clarinet, violin, laouto, baglama, and frame drum. Her activity is primarily related to her birthplace, Leskovik, considered a core place for saze performance in the first half of the 20th century. She sang and played the violin with the group. The performances with her brother Selim Leskoviku (singer and clarinettist), recorded for the Odeon label’s 78 rpm recordings, are well known. Their two-part singing is based on the multipart singing practices characteristic of the rural areas of south-eastern Albania. Their saze group was family based. They had their own tavern but were also hired to play in different places nearby. Leskoviku has been described as having a very large vocal range, of up to three octaves. It has been said that she used to dress like a man and cut her hair short, attitudes that attributed her a special status among the ...


Trena Jordanoska

revised by Dimitrije Bužarovski

(b Skopje, Aug 8, 1943; d Skopje, Dec 11, 2016). Macedonian singer of Roma ethnicity. She was identified by her radiant voice, her vivacious, rhythmical, and virtuoso ornamentation, and her charismatic appearance. In her teens, her talent was noticed by the Macedonian accordionist, arranger, and composer of Macedonian traditional music, Stevo Teodosievski (b Kočani, April 16, 1924; d Skopje, April 9, 1997). He mentored her as leading soloist of the Ensemble Teodosievski, established in 1953 and consisting of accordion, clarinet, two trumpets, and tarabuka. The ensemble was later renamed The Esma Ensemble Teodosievski and recorded 108 singles, 20 LPs, 32 cassette tapes, 6 video tapes, and 12 TV programmes. Redžepova and Teodosievski’s partnership resulted in marriage in 1968.

She was one of the first Yugoslav TV celebrities, and a favourite of Josip Broz Tito, receiving state honours including the October Prize of Yugoslavia, a silver and a gold medal from Josip Broz Tito, and the title Remarkable Entertainer of Yugoslavia. The ensemble was also present at the first World Festival of Roma Music and Culture held in the city of Chandigarh, Punjab in ...