I am writing this from Manndalen, Norway, home of the Riddu Riddu festival! Riddu Riddu is an Indigenous music festival in the northern part of Norway. I performed as AKU-MATU here last year as part of the Alaskan Native contingent as Alaskan Natives were the "Northern Peoples of the Year" in 2017.
This year, I have returned as part of a first ever Inuit Circumpolar Arctic Hip-Hop Collaboration. We are creating new music that will be released as mp3's and also on vinyl in 2018. It is an exciting collaboration, led by Greenlandic beatmaker and producer, Aqqalu Berthelsen.
It is beautiful here in Manndalen. We as a collaborative team arrived to the festival to work on our collaborations. There are also hip-hop dancers here that will be part of the festival and part of the collaboration.
After Manndalen, I will travel to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates to do the initial research for "Everybody Will Be A Millionaire!" which is a collaboration between myself and Iñupiaq photographer Brian Adams. I am nervous about the heat, about being in 106 degree fahrenheit temperatures for six days in a row.
I hope to sit on a camel. I am excited to be in a different part of the world.
I recently spent almost three weeks in Kaktovik, my traditional homelands. I had no internet access while there, which was great in many ways. It was so good to be home. Now, I travelled halfway across the world to be in the Arctic again, with Inuit from different places in the Arctic. Collaborating, creating new music.
I highly recommend visiting the Riddu Riddu festival. It was a longtime dream come true to be able to perform here last year, and a big honor to return again so soon as part of a collaborative team.
Allison Akootchook Warden