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Arts & Culture

Bonjay On World Cafe

Bonjay's debut full-length album, Lush Life, is a love letter to the swirl of cities and the people they bring together. It's what happens when strangers clink glasses on rooftops and collide in bike lanes and offer each other seats on subways and sweat it out in basements blaring dancehall.

Bonjay is a duo – Alanna Stuart and Ian Swain — and even their origin story depends on eclectic interest and urban kismet. They met in the attic of an Italian restaurant in Chinatown in Ottawa. He was DJ'ing, she was an aspiring R&B singer. And they came together over the Bugz in the Attic version of "Zombie" by Fela Kuti. Swain is an urban economist when he is not DJ'ing. Stuart's parents immigrated to Canada from the Caribbean, and shared her house growing up with foster children from El Salvador and Brazil, as well as Inuit children. Swain and Stuart share stories from their unique backgrounds, reflect on what it really means to "belong" and perform live.

Hear the complete session in the player above.

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