A memorial service was held in Sanikiluaq for Inuk singer Kelly Fraser on Jan. 5, who died by suicide on Christmas Eve. Close to 100 community members gathered at the local community hall to remember the 26-year-old musician.
Fraser had many friends in Sanikiluaq as a young child growing up in the southern Hudson Bay community.
Annesie Appaqaq, a friend of Fraser, remembered her as a very helpful person.
“She helped a lot of people and even me,” said Appaqaq.
The atmosphere during the one-hour evening service was described as “sad and touching” by Appaqaq.
For the memorial, a community member had framed a photo of Fraser with words, “love u” written above it. Red and pink flowers were also placed near the photo.
“It was beautiful,” Appaqaq said of the service.
Touching lives beyond Sanikiluaq
Outside of Sanikiluaq, Fraser touched the lives of many with her songwriting and music. For her next album, called Decolonize, the musician had plans to collaborate with other artists like Silla and Rise, Mob Bounce and Mamarudegyal MTHC.
Those who worked with her told Nunavut News her love of Inuktitut and working with community members across Nunavut.
“Kelly was a strong, resilient and independent Inuit artist. Her talent was undeniable and she loved rapping and singing in Inuktitut. It is my belief she played a strong role in the current revival of Inuit culture,” wrote Rise Ashen, producer of Silla and Rise.
“Kelly Fraser was an amazing, bright light who truly wanted to connect with people and loved to love others. Kelly was doing extremely important work in her community and other remote communities, she had a strong voice that she used to speak about difficult topics that had previously been left mostly unaddressed,” wrote Mamarudegyal MTHC.
“She was more than a musician, she was an advocate and a voice for her people: that’s her legacy. She had so much to offer through her music,” wrote Craig Frank Edes from Mob Bounce.