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Bonjay & Queer Songbook Orchestra present "Medicine for Melancholy" (Live from Yaad Version)

by Bonjay & Queer Songbook Orchestra present...The Queer Dancehall Orchestra

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Bonjay & Queer Songbook Orchestra present...the Queer Dancehall Orchestra.

(Accompanying music video filmed in isolation, visit www.queersongbook.com to view.)

What is the Queer Dancehall Orchestra?

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.

"Medicine for Melancholy" (Live from Yaad Version) 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?

100% of the proceeds will be donated to the National Youth Orchestra of Jamaica.

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


I can disguise
Any side
I'm a spy
Aiming for lives
I can try
For the night


Oh, Zadie knows
Elongated i's and o's
Won't get me through
Glorified glory holes

On some days
I don't think
I wanna stay
Where I came from
These days
I don't think I belong

I’m for the fight
But, if I’ve got it right
Willing to try
Other sides
I’m too light?



Tell me
If you don’t want me
Why must I bleed you?



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

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


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Queer Songbook Orchestra Toronto, Ontario

14-piece Toronto based chamber pop ensemble, utilizing story and song to express, honour and elevate 2SLGBTQ+ experience.

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