No-No Boy's Transpacific Playlist
On Thursday, November 15, the duo No-No Boy—singer-songwriter Julian Saporiti and vocalist Erin Aoyama—brings an immersive, indie-folk concert that illuminates the Asian-American experience to the David Rubenstein Atrium. Here, Julian shares some of the music that has informed the project, which melds song, storytelling, and imagery.
Over the last few years, both as a musician and a PhD student at Brown University, I've grown interested in the rich musical exchanges that happened across the Pacific in the 20th century, whether through imperialism, war, occupation, displacement, or migration. This playlist opens a door to a rich world of Asian-American musics, as well as Asian localizations of American and western popular musics, a playlist which has been playing in the background as we have been writing and researching for No-No Boy. It is offered—intentionally messy and incongruent with not much information—to serve as a brief introduction to the diverse pop musical offerings on both sides of the Pacific and to inspire the listener to look deeper into each of these artists.
"Tinh Yêu Tuyệt Vời (The Greatest Love)" by CBC Band
Saigonese teenagers taking American acid rock to a whole new place in the middle of the war.
"Nobody" by Mitski
Indie rock du jour. Singular voice.
"Bright Whites" by Kishi Bashi
Japanese-American violinist, composer, songwriter, and good friend who creates pocket symphonies to support his beautiful pop music.
"Ghost" by Parekh & Singh
South Asian kids raised on Wes Anderson movies.
"Manzanar" by Channel 3
1980s punk rockers. The lead singer's family was incarcerated during WWII. One of the earliest and best songs written about the Japanese Internment.
"Ghost Tape #10"
Made by the United States Army during the Vietnam War, this recording of disembodied voices, traditional Vietnamese music, and sound effects was played in the jungles at night as a psychological warfare tactic.
"Maaf Cintaku" by Iwan Fals
A simple song of heartache by Indonesia's Bob Dylan.
"Everybody Wants To Love You" by Japanese Breakfast
Great essayist and songwriter performing a guitar solo in her mom's hanbok on top of a big rig and swigging beers while riding a motorcycle. My kind of model minority.
"The Village" by Toshiko Akiyoshi
Japanese jazz legend killing it in this live performance.
"Lord Knows Best" by Dirty Beaches
French pop sampler. Badass lo-fi balladeer.
"Taiji No Yume" by Yoshiko Sai
Something along the lines of East Asian Acid Folk, wild and pretty like Mingus's The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady.
"With You" by Alicia Thao Hmong
American songwriter. Wonderful voice, alone in a bedroom.
Yellow Magic Orchestra
The groundbreaking synth-pop album by the group of the same name.
"A Go Go" by Dara Pupsita
East Javanese 1960s all-girl rock band. Catchy, fun, hip.
No-No Boy is a multimedia concert performed by Julian Saporiti and Erin Aoyama. Learn more about the project.