Sachs Harbour, N.W.T., teen pens song about uncle's death, garners thousands of views online

A song written by a teen from Sachs Harbour, N.W.T., about her uncle's death has gone viral, with more than 6,000 views in a week.

Jasmine Keogak, 17, collaborated with the not-for-profit Darkspark for 'Little Valentine'

'Little Valentine' by Sachs Harbour's Jasmine Keogak in collaboration with Darkspark

6 years ago
Duration 3:47
Sachs Harbour teen Jasmine Keogak performs her song 'Little Valentine' which she recorded in collaboration with Darkspark

Jasmine Keogak had no idea she would come out of this summer's Students on Ice Arctic Expedition as a songwriter with a viral hit.

"This is the first time I've sung and actually recorded my voice," Keogak, 17, said. "This is also my first time writing a song, it was actually fun."

Keogak, from Sachs Harbour, N.W.T., co-wrote the song Little Valentine along with the founders of the not-for profit, Darkspark.

The organization puts on songwriting and recording programs across Canada with the goal of engaging and empowering youth. Keogak recorded it while on the Students on Ice Arctic Expedition which took students on an educational voyage through Canada's Arctic Ocean.

Darkspark published the video for Little Valentine on its Facebook page on Monday. Since then, it has been watched more than 6,000 times.

Family connection

"I wrote it about my uncle," Keogak said. "He passed away when I was nine years old."

"It is strange having a lot of people know about that story," she said. "Before this, not a lot of people knew."
Jasmine Keogak sings while on the Students on Ice Arctic Expedition. (Submitted by Darkspark)

It took Keogak about four days to write the song about her uncle Andrew Esau. At first, she thought she wouldn't be able to sing it, but now she's happy she did.

It's the first time some friends and family have heard her thoughts about that time in her life, she explained, bringing some to tears the first time they heard the song.

"The other day in school, one of my friends came to the classroom and she was bawling."
Melissa Larkin (left) and Jasmine Keogak grew close during the Arctic expedition, with Larkin calling Keogak a 'special individual.' (Submitted by Darkspark)

'A really, really special individual'

Keogak and other students recorded their songs in a makeshift recording studio during the expedition in the ship's sauna. It's part of Darkspark's "Four Directions Project," co-founder Melissa Larkin explained.

"Jasmine was a really, really special individual that we connected with immediately on board," said Larkin.

Larkin and other Darkspark team members worked with 15 of the 125 students on board the ship.

"The process was really intensive," Larkin said. "We weren't able to work with a huge number of youth but the impact was felt ship-wide because the songs were so powerful."

Keogak's song was the first Darkspark released on social media.

Even though Keogak's had a hit, she plans to continue her last year of high school in Inuvik and hasn't thought much about pursuing a career in music.