Concert for a cause: Performing artist shares cultural history, interests students

Inter-Disciplinary Artist Allison Warden poses for pictures with newly-made fans

Inter-Disciplinary Artist Allison Warden poses for pictures with newly-made fans

Erika Roedl, News & Web editor

The audience cheered as the woman on stage put on a flat brim fitted hat and a beat started to play through some speakers. They clapped and yelled and nodded their heads to the rhythm, but the crowd quickly grew quiet. They were listening to the lyrics, a story of a woman who had to adjust and readjust to the world changing around her.

Classes of Open and All Nations students got their own private concert with Inter-Disciplinary Artist Allison Warden, a woman of Inupiaq Eskimo heritage from Alaska. On Thursday during their 4th hour in the auditorium, students heard part of her one-woman show “Calling All Polar Bears” that is a segment in Pangea World Theater’s Indigenous Voices Series.

Warden’s first rap told some of the history of her tribe in northern Alaska, particularly her mother’s sad story, when immigrants came to the island where she lived. At the end of the hour, a student in the audience asked her “Did all of those things really happen?” It was the complete truth, Warden said.

The entirety of her performance is tonight, Saturday and Sunday at 7:30 pm at Intermedia Arts 2822 Lyndale Avenue South. Tickets can be purchased at the door or by calling 612-871-4444, or going to

Warden answered most of the questions with a freestyle rap, saying “it’s easier to rap than just talk anyway.” The audience chanted “encore!” after each bit, and each time Warden obliged, saying “You guys are getting a special show, a lot of this isn’t in [‘Calling All Polar Bears’]”

Warden told more than just the story of her people through rap and song. She also had a song dedicated to the polar bears that suffer because of the oil mining in the arctic. Students chanted along with the chorus, “oh, where did all the ice go?” and another student asked, “What can we do to help?” Warden emphasized researching the cause, being active, and “turn off the TV and get out into the community.”

Through a rap, warden explained why she wanted to come to South: “I had a dream, and in my dream my palm was being read,” and she said the palm reader said she liked young people, and Warden agreed, saying that “every chance I get to be with [young people], I’m down with it.”