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10X10 Series: No-No Boy

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No-No Boy: Asian American History Comes Alive Through Song and Story

The No-No Boy concert is a 60-90 minute multimedia event which combines original songs, storytelling and archival images to provide the audience with an immersive experience which explores difficult histories of immigration, refugees, race, empire and incarceration. By transforming his doctoral research into a concert, musician/scholar Julian Saporiti delivers a deeply researched performance which entertains as it educates, deftly blending scholarship and art and offering a model for public facing academic work.

The content of the project focuses largely on Asian American and transpacific stories, featuring songs which explore North American Chinatowns, Japanese American Incarceration and his own family’s history as Southeast Asian refugees, amongst other areas of study. Alongside these pieces, Saporiti’s present day work with refugees at the southern border and indigenous climate refugees in Northern Alaska have inspired songs which connect seemingly disparate communities through larger themes of immigration and displacement.

“one of the most insurgent pieces of music you’ll ever hear… re-examines Americana with devastating effect… an act of revisionist subversion” – NPR

“insanely listenable and gorgeous” – American Songwriter


Julian Saporiti is a Vietnamese American songwriter and scholar. His multi-media work “No-No Boy” has transformed his PhD research on Asian American history into concerts, albums and films which have reached a broad and diverse public audience. His latest album “1975” released through Smithsonian Folkways has been hailed by NPR as “one of the most insurgent pieces of music you’ll ever hear” which “re-examines americana with devastating effect” and American Songwriter called it “insanely listenable and gorgeous.” By using art to dive into highly divisive issues such as race, refugees and immigration, Saporiti aims to allow audience members to sit with complication as music and visuals open doorways to difficult histories. Saporiti holds degrees from Berklee College of Music, University of Wyoming and Brown University and has worked with cultural institutions such as Lincoln Center, the LA Philharmonic, the National Parks and Carnegie Hall.


OPB Article / Interview

NPR World Cafe Interview and Performance

Smithsonian Documentary

“The Best God Damn Band in Wyoming” Music Video  

“Imperial Twist” Lyric Video

Hult Presents

All Tickets $10