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Jazz 31/03/2021

No-No Boy On "The Best God Damn Band In Wyoming," The George Igawa Orchestra

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New York, NY (Top40 Charts) No-No Boy, aka musician-scholar Julian Saporiti, is out now with the video for "The Best God Damn Band in Wyoming," a bright, catchy guitar homage to the little-known George Igawa Orchestra, a big band formed inside a Japanese-American internment camp during WWII.

No-No Boy's upcoming album, '1975,' out this Friday 4/2, delves into the musical histories of the Saigon rock 'n' roll teenagers, Filipino cruise ship bands, punk rockers, and church choirs in Chinatowns that neither music history nor American history teach about.

Here's what No-No Boy had to say about the new song and how it relates to the current fight for justice and representation in the AAPI community:

An all Asian American big band who formed in a Wyoming concentration camp during WWII - how could I not be captivated by that story?

I went to a jazz college, studied jazz history, and never learned about ANY musicians who looked like me. It was only after I moved to Wyoming and saw this photograph of the George Igawa Orchestra that I realized, as an Asian American musician, I am part of a rich lineage.

A decade later, I have this pile of songs illuminating a diverse array of Asian American and immigrant stories which sadly, seem more relevant now than ever and it all started with the "The Best God Damn Band in Wyoming."

This band would hit the road to play school proms and town dances only to go back behind barbed wire after the gig. And Igawa himself should be taught about as a musical pioneer who fused Japanese instruments and music with his big band. To play music at all during a situation like the Japanese American Incarceration was astounding and I'm happy that through this little tune a few more people will know about this band.

Who knows, maybe their story can be a gateway into understanding the complex, diverse and rich history of Asian Americans. The George Igawa Orchestra deserves a novel or a movie, but at least, now, they have a song.

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