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A session with Big Freedia, bounce music’s worldwide ambassador

Big Freedia
Image credit: Nelson Cosey

On today’s show, a session with Big Freedia: We’ll hear high-energy live performances — recorded with Tank and the Bangas as her epic backing band — as well as an interview hosted by New Orleans correspondent Gwen Thompkins. “Big Freedia is to bounce music,” says Thompkins, “what Serena Williams is to tennis. Not the earliest pioneer in their chosen field, but the one who makes the biggest impression.”

Born Freddie Ross Jr. and raised, of course, in New Orleans, Freedia has built an enduring body of work as a recording artist, stage performer and as bounce’s worldwide ambassador. Over the past 20 years, that career has been driven by wide-ranging collaborations, including artists such as Beyoncé, Drake and Sia.

Thompkins explains that Big Freedia works so well artistically with others in part, besides her boundless enthusiasm and charisma, because she’s flexible; evoking the masculine and feminine in equally powerful ways, embracing gospel textures with as much gusto as hip-hop.

You can listen to Gwen Thompkins’ interview with Freedia in the audio player below, and watch her full performance above.

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