Kelly Fraser, Inuit-Canadian Singer, Dies at 26

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Kelly Fraser, a Canadian singer who gained attention for an Inuit-language cover of Rihanna’s song “Diamonds,” died on Thursday. She was 26.

Thor Simonsen, her producer, confirmed the death. No other details were given.

Ms. Fraser, who grew up in Sanikiluaq, Nunavut, Canada, and was living in Winnipeg, Manitoba, released “Isuma,” her debut album, in 2014. She released “Sedna” in 2017 and was nominated for indigenous music album of the year at the Junos, Canada’s annual music awards.

Ms. Fraser became known for writing and translating songs into Inuktitut, an Inuit language, often mixing English and Inuktitut in her recordings and blended traditional Inuit sounds and themes with contemporary pop.

By doing so, she sought to “use pop music as a platform to strengthen her language,” Mr. Simonsen said.

A video of her version of “Diamonds” was widely viewed online.

She also hoped to raise awareness among younger generations of the history of the Inuit people.

In a 2017 statement that accompanied the release of “Sedna,” Ms. Fraser said the album’s goal was to heal those suffering from the results of colonization, including the “damaging effects of residential school and forced relocation.”

“There is a great need for Inuit artists to directly speak to those affected from the past,” she added.

She was working on a third album, “Decolonize,” at the time of her death, Mr. Simonsen said.


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