Surels Place presents: No-No Boy
No-No Boy is an immersive multimedia work combining original folk songs, storytelling, and projected archival images, bridging a divide between art and scholarship. 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 concert/dissertation, all in an effort to bring this work to a broader audience.
2018 saw the release of the first No-No Boy album1942 and an ambitious national tour in which Julian was joined by fellow Ph.D. student Erin Aoyama, whose family was incarcerated at one of the ten Japanese American concentration camps. Together, Saporiti also worked closely with musician Kishi Bashi on his documentary film Omoiyari which seeks to explore WW2 Japanese American Incarceration and current social justice issues through music.
In the spring of 2019, Saporiti expanded the project’s scope, embarking with longtime collaborator and photographer Diego Luis and their Brown colleague Juan Betancourt on a trip to the Mexican border. Playing concerts for asylum seekers and aid workers in Laredo, Crystal City (former home of a WW2 Internment Camp), and Dilley, TX (current home to the largest family detention center), the experience was jarring, impactful and created an eery sense of deja-vu, walking through and making music amongst overlapping histories, surrounded by lessons seemingly unlearned.
In the fall of 2019, Saporiti expands the project as a resident of Surel’s Place- visiting the sites of Minidoka, a WW2 Japanese American Incarceration camp, and making field recordings, literally sampling the sounds of this historical place. He will then work at Surel’s Place to turn those collected sounds into instruments on top of which he will write songs whose lyrics are inspired by the place and its history. He will do the same for the area around Ontario, Oregon- just across the border which was one of the largest Japanese American settlements during and after the war. These songs will be worked on, arranged, and presented for the first time at this concert.
The concert will be followed by a Q&A
The Visual Arts Collective is a 21-and-over only venue.