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KPH Blog

The Incredible No-No Boy

by Chloe Pullman


The music of No-No Boy is so incredibly special and important. No-No Boy’s creator, Julian Saporiti, is a musician and scholar from Nashville, Tennessee. His music illustrates the life of an Asian American and the son of a refugee. Musically, his songs are of the folk genre with hints of country. He collects sounds from the places he writes about, going to all sorts of historical and monumental sights to find sounds and stories. Lyrically his songs are deep and haunting, telling the stories of his family and of refugees and immigrants. His lyrics are an oral history of his family, and of history as a whole. Saporiti uses music to teach and learn about history in a very creative and important way and manages to make beautiful art out of horrible moments in history. No-No Boy’s newest album, “1975” is a true masterpiece. I got the chance to email Saporiti and ask him a few questions:

Chloe Pullman: “Is there anything you want your listeners to discover or think about when listening to your music?”

Julian Saporiti: “I'd like whoever listens to my songs to get excited about learning history in a nuanced and more well-rounded way. I get a lot of emails and messages about how people have been inspired to look into their own family histories or even read some of the books I shout out in my interviews and liner notes and I think that's awesome. Mostly, I hope that some people find some new music that they like, whether or not the "messaging" gets through, because at the end of the day, I really just love music and it's the most powerful artform I've come across and if I can create some stuff that makes people happy or thoughtful, that's really rad.”

Chloe Pullman: “How has your educational journey informed your musical journey?”

Julian Saporiti: “Doing my Masters(s) and PhD gave me a lot of source material and inspiration to write songs and compose. I had retired from doing music professionally, but I was so overwhelmed by all of these interesting stories I was learning through my academic career that I had to go back to what I do most naturally and sing them.”

Chloe Pullman: “How has music shaped/impacted your life?”

Julian Saporiti: “It's the best. It's really such a magical thing. People over millennia figuring out how to move air molecules around with their voices and different physical objects and order in a way that moves us emotionally. I love being part of that tradition and combining it with language to teach, tell stories and connect with folks. It's quite an AWESOME (in the true meaning of the word) thing to be a part of as a maker and listener when you really break down what we're doing when we put on our headphones and listen to something.”

You can see No-No boy in concert on November 5th at the Black Fish Gallery at 7:00 pm in Portland, Oregon. (420 NW 9th Ave, Portland, OR 97209). Listen to No-No Boy’s newest release “1975” now!



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