What new terrain exists at the intersection of the Queer Songbook Orchestra’s lush arrangements and Bonjay’s dancehall-evolved soul?

These are the questions that drove the creation of the Queer Dancehall Orchestra’s “Medicine for Melancholy (Live from Yaad version)”.

Recorded by faith and in isolation, it reimagines Bonjay’s electronic bedroom sounds back out onto human hands, touching wood & brass, generating waves that travel across open air…

It’s an appropriate pairing for a song about the feeling of finding a way when living between two worlds. The song’s title itself comes from Barry Jenkins’ (Moonlight) film début, another modern story of in-betweenness.

It was a dream opportunity for mutual member, Alanna Stuart, to illuminate her connection between two communities often seen as in opposition.

Who knew there was comfort to be found somewhere between the soundsystem yard and the orchestra pit?

Stream & buy: https://smarturl.it/a744uu

100% of sales go to the National Youth Orchestra of Jamaica.

We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.


released November 13, 2020
“Medicine for Melancholy” written by Bonjay (Alanna Stuart & Ian Pho Swain)

Arranged for the QSO by La-Nai Gabriel
Produced by Shaun Brodie & Alanna Stuart

Alanna Stuart – Lead Vocals, Audio Editing & Drum Programming
Alex Samaras – Vocals
James Baley – Vocals
Jennifer Burford – Violin
Evan Lamberton – Cello
Lief Mosbaugh – Oboe
Naomi McCarroll-Butler – Alto Saxophone
Micajah Sturgess – French Horn
Nicole Rampersaud – Trumpet
Thom Gill – Guitar
Johnny Spence – Piano
Dan Fortin – Double Bass
Stefan Schneider – Drums
Ian “Pho” Swain – Xtra Vibes
Stephen Jackman-Torkoff – Dancing

Mixed by Aleda DeRoche
Self-recorded in isolation, with additional recording by Michael Feuerstack, Thom Gill & Alanna Stuart
Mastered by Jeremy Greenspan at Burton Building Studios

CBC First Play screenshot “Every song vibrant and evocative. . . Lush Life feels like a place, a city or space of its own”

Stream the advance preview of our debut LP, Lush Life 🙌🏾🙌🏻  Up for a limited time at CBC Music 🔊

Alongside talk of: Inuit foster brothers, what a “panopticon” is, and the tremendous challenge of making “very much your own thing.”

The Collaborative Legions of Artful Womxn (Red Bull Radio)

Alanna and Robin Bernice have collaborated on a new dancehall-inspired janky pop tune (of course) in Jamaica!

Tune in worldwide today at 6pm EST to hear its radio premiere on Collaborative Legions of Artful Womxn, alongside our in-depth conversation with one of the loveliest people in music, Merrill Garbus of Tune-Yards.


Lush Life tumblr header

Cities are humankind’s greatest creation. Their only reason for existence is to bring us closer together. To create. To intersect. To love. Why else would we put up with the excess, the crowds, the trials and the tribulations? Because cities feed our need for human connection. Those who would never otherwise meet become inseparable. Cities are a dream world. Because in pursuit our dreams, the city emerges in our collective image.

A city’s most profound power lies in its ability to make new ideas real. Cities hoover up ambition from all over. Yearning artists and scientists, immigrants and students, writers and entrepreneurs – impresarios of all motivations and hues. The details change but the stories remain forever the same: The struggle to convince others of a vision they can’t yet see. The crushing failures on the path to success. Summoning the strength to persevere. Seeking someone to love, and finding someone who loves you. The fight to keep ambition from eating away at your passion.

There’s a lot that happens on the way to making new things. These are the stories Lush Life tells.

“The difficulty lies not in the new ideas, but in escaping the old ones…”

Lush Life ideas & inspirations

Jane Jacobs