Ifs, Ands, Or Shaking Butts At Jazz Fest

Patrice Fisher

Patrice Fisher. Patrick Jarenwattananon/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Patrick Jarenwattananon/NPR

On the surface, they couldn't be more different. A gender-bending rap trio making bass-heavy, repetitive music with little emphasis on lyrics and all attention to sexualized danceability. A Latin jazz band led by a harpist with a Honduran violinist and several Garifuna hand percussionists.

But on day two of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, they both featured serious booty shaking.

The Bounce Extravaganza, featuring Sissy Nobby, Big Freedia and Katey Red, got off to a late start due to miscommunication about a near-cancellation due to weather. But the three openly queer stars of New Orleans' distinct rap subgenre got off a few tremendously booming, thumping songs in a limited set: Freedia controlling, Sissy shaking, Katey hyping. And, befitting of bounce music, they brought along a dancer to exhibit the genre's core move. It looks something like this:

Later in the day, on the Lagniappe stage, New Orleans harpist Patrice Fisher put together an attractive multicultural mashup.


Duet in dance. Patrick Jarenwattananon/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Patrick Jarenwattananon/NPR

Interested as she is in much of the music of Latin America, a trip to Honduras brought her in contact with a star violinist in Angel Rios, and a number of drummers from an indigenous Garifuna community. She wrested them all together, with other musicians too, for her Jazz Fest set.

With this ensemble, Fisher's technique is not the main draw in the way that Edmar Castaneda virtuosically plays Latin jazz on the harp. It doesn't have to be, with four percussionists (one who sings and chants), star soloists and a full, pulsating band. They are many; they are rhythmic. And on one song, the ensemble was joined by a dancer whose name I didn't catch. After some vigorous posterior strutting, Rios leapt up to join her.

Katey Red

Katey Red acted as something of a hypewoman during the brief bounce music showcase. Patrick Jarenwattananon/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Patrick Jarenwattananon/NPR

Two different sonic worlds and social communities to match. But both like to move below the waist — something the rest of us can all relate to as well.



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