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