Graham J with Ian Elmslie 'Torchbearer'

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Last Show: Monday 30 th September 2019

The Pheasantry (Chelsea)

A torch song is traditionally a sentimental love song, in which the singer laments an unrequited or lost love, providing a shoulder upon which the audience rests their collective broken hearts. And we’ve all been there. 'Torchbearer' is the stunning new show celebrating this genre, featuring the internationally renowned recording artist, jazz noir superstar and male contralto Graham J, accompanied by Ian Elmslie, formerly of award-winning cabaret duo Katrina and The Boy and author of the acclaimed book 'A Marvellous Party', on the piano. The evening features songs, all traditionally sung by women and drawn from an eclectic roll-call of songwriters, that explore the myriad of joys and woes inherent within relationships, the blissful simplicity and the dreaded complications of love. From off-Broadway to inner city bedsit, from reimagined standards to original compositions, from laughter to tears and everything in between...expect the unexpected. 

“Graham J. can hold an audience in the palm of his hand.”

Jazz Views

Ian Elmslie

Born in 1962 at the same hospital as Quentin Crisp, Ian Elmslie decided to set his life to music from the earliest age.

A public school survivor, secretary, lead singer and old folks care assistant, he finally found a pathway to the spotlight at the Rose Bruford College of Speech and Drama. After three years of anarchic community theatre, a chance phone call opened up the velveteen curtains to the twilight world of the gay cabaret circuit, where he found infamy as one half of the award-winning musical comedy duo, Katrina and The Boy.

After an exhilarating and exhausting decade spent entertaining the nationwide community, he found unexpected rewards as a drama teacher in a rough tough secondary school.

A Marvellous Party, a ticklish memoir of brief but close encounters with legends from the world of entertainment, is his first and maybe his only book. It is an open love letter to the gay community, a tribute to personal heroes and heroines, and a tip of the gratitude hat to the queer icons who led him from where he was to who he is…Out, proud and usually tucked up in bed by 10.

Graham J

Graham’s  unique contralto voice and highly emotive singing have garnered  him a large following internationally. Earning him many plaudits from the press. Acclaimed music journalist Larry Flick describes him as having “A gift from God” and praised him saying “You make pop music serious. You’re a real artist”. 2018 was a busy year for Graham. Highlights included performing at the Laurie Beechman Theatre on Broadway in New York City. Headlining The Gay Pride Festival in Sitges and performing at PizzaExpress in Holborn.

The Irishman will be releasing two new albums ‘Songs My Disco Taught Me’, a reworking of 80s pop tunes and ‘Cry’, an album of soulful jazz standards including tracks recorded live at an intimate late night show at Ocean House in Co. Cork Ireland. He will be performing selections from both these albums and a mix of original material at the Pheasantry.