Julian Saporiti (No-No Boy)

Julian Saporiti

Julian Saporiti the creative force behind No-No boy is a musician and scholar, born and raised in Nashville, TN. 

In his 20s, he toured North America and Europe with an indie rock band called The Young Republic. After feeling burnt out from the road, he chose a quieter life as a scholar, investigating hidden American histories in the mountains of Wyoming. He then moved to Brown University to continue his research on race, refugees, music, memory and immigration. He has advanced degrees in American Studies and Ethnomusicology as well as a degree in music from Berklee College of Music in Boston.

In late 2016, Saporiti went back to Nashville and was sitting in his mother’s kitchen listening to the dozens of oral histories he recorded of people who lived through WWII Japanese internment. With his headphones on and these stories in his ears, he picked up his guitar and began writing songs. “Music was the way I needed to tell this story,” he reflects. “I also looked to my own Vietnamese War torn history and other stories of Asian-American experience.” He now has a 70 song collection which combines historical documents, oral histories, archival sound, photography and film, and processes them through songwriting, film editing/projections, and audio production.

NPR has described No-No Boy as “An act of revisionist subversion” and NY Music Daily wrote after a performance in the atrium at Lincoln Center that “Saporiti’s tunesmithing ranks with any of the real visionaries of this era.”

No-No Boy - 1942 (album cover)

昭和17年 (1942) FULL ALBUM + Projections

No-No Boy is an immersive multimedia work blending original folk songs, storytelling, and projected archival images to illuminate hidden American histories. Taking inspiration from his own family’s history living through the Vietnam War, as well as interviews with World War II Japanese Incarceration camp survivors and other stories of Asian American experience, songwriter Julian Saporiti has transformed years of doctoral research into an innovative project bridging a divide between art and scholarship.

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