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

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 Bg 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.

Copyright 2022 XPN

Gwen Thompkins
Gwen Thompkins hosts Music Inside Out on WWNO in New Orleans.
Stephen Kallao
John Myers
Since 2017, John Myers has been the producer of NPR's World Cafe, which is produced by WXPN at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Previously he spent about eight years working on the other side of Philly at WHYY as a producer on the staff of Fresh Air with Terry Gross. John was also a member of the team of public radio veterans recruited to develop original programming for Audible and has worked extensively as a freelance producer. His portfolio includes work for the Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site, The Association for Public Art and the radio documentary, Going Black: The Legacy of Philly Soul Radio. He's taught radio production to preschoolers and college students and, in the late 90's, spent a couple of years traveling around the country as a roadie for the rock band Huffamoose.