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  • Quyen B. Nguyen, Ph.D.

No-No Boy

In recent rotation: 1975 by No-No Boy is a new-to-me album released earlier this year and showcased in All Songs Considered New Mix (thanks to this discovery!). No-No Boy is Julian Saporiti, a Vietnamese-American singer-songwriter and scholar. The name No-No Boy seems to originate from the name of a novel written by Japanese-American writer John Okada first published in 1956 (the first Japanese-American novel); the novel follows the story of a Japanese American who returns to the Seattle area after WWII internment camp. The band/music artist name fits given the 1975 project’s stories, which include those about Asians Americans from the Vietnam War (or American War in Vietnam) and the WWII Japanese-American internment camps. The song “The Best God Damn Band in Wyoming” tells the real-life/true-life story of a Japanese-American swing band formed in a WWII internment camp. Catchy songs, great storytelling. This is the sort of album where I’ve got to pay attention to the lyrics and the stories rather than zone/drift out.


Links:

No-No Boy website

Smithsonian Folkways

All Songs Considered New Mix episode

No-No Boy book with UW






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