Saturday, November 9 | 6pm-9pm | Conkling Hall | 8 Methodist Hill Rd, Rensselaerville, NY
FREE EVENT | Donations to Benefit Conkling Hall | Wine & Beer Available
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, Nashville born songwriter Julian Saporiti has transformed years of doctoral research at Brown University into an innovative project bridging a divide between art and scholarship. By turning archival study and fieldwork into a large repertoire of folk songs and visuals Saporiti has been able to share his work widely.
“An act of revisionist subversion.”
“Saporiti’s tunesmithing ranks with any of the real visionaries of this era.”
-NY Music Daily
Julian Saporiti 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 which he founded as an undergrad at the Berklee College of Music. After feeling burnt out from the road, he chose a quieter life as a scholar, moving to Laramie, WY to pursue a master’s in American Studies. At Wyoming Saporiti completed a thesis on street musicians and the regulation of public spaces, focusing on New York’s Washington Square Park, but also doing fieldwork in Boulder and Denver. He then moved to Brown University where he has completed a master’s in Ethnomusicology and is a Ph.D. candidate in American Studies.
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 He now has a 70 song collection which takes historical documents, oral histories, archival sound, photography and film, and processes them through songwriting, film editing and audio production. The No-No Boy project’s first album 1942 was released in 2018 and followed by an exhausting national tour in which Saporiti, along with many collaborators played everywhere from museums, indie rock clubs, refugee camps, high schools and universities, engaging with diverse audiences in all parts of the country. His next album 1975 will be released by Smithsonian Folkways in 2020 with a final tour to follow. He will hopefully finish his dissertation in the spring.
Emilia Halvorsen is a musician and embroidery artist originally from Baltimore, Maryland. She graduated this past spring from Brown University with a degree in sociology. She has been a collaborator with No-No Boy since spring of 2017, providing harmonies and creating an embroidered stage jacket to visually tell the stories of the project. In addition to working with No-No Boy, she is also in the process of creating a solo EP of original songs.