May 26, 2023

No-No Boy & Mariachi Los Broncos

Smithsonian Folkways – CD SF 56126
"La Banda Más Chingón en Wyoming"

Format: Single CD
Country: US
Released: 2023
Genre: Folk, World, & Country
Style: Folk, Latin
1 La Banda Más Chingón en Wyoming (03:48)
2 Nitro '66 Cannonball Blues (02:34)
Julian Saporit (guitar/banjo/vocals) Emilia Halvorsen (vocals) Jacob Miller (vocals)
Producer: Julian Saporiti, Liner Notes Editor: Carla Borden, Photographer: Noyel Gilmore, Art Director: Emilia Halvorson, Designer: Darryl Norsen, Engineer: Tim Beken, Seth Boggess and Mike Monseur
The cultural and geographic lineage of No-No Boy's newest single "La Banda Más Chingón en Wyoming" is layered and deeply American: a mariachi rendition of a folk-country song about a 1940s Asian American swing band composed in Wyoming by the son of a Vietnamese refugee from Nashville performed in Southern California. The song is a bilingual reimagination of "The Best Goddamn Band In Wyoming" from the 2021 No-No Boy album 1975. Julian Saporiti and Emilia Halvorsen Saporiti are joined by Mariachi Los Broncos, whose bandleader Jessie Vallejo drew thematic connections between the Japanese internment camps that Saporiti so vividly sings about and the detention centers set up at the US Southern border overfilled with Latin American migrants. The mariachi's bold exuberance underscores the song's triumphant perseverance in the face of bigotry and life-shattering oppression by the state.

The single's B-side "Nitro '66 Cannonball Blues" is a brand-new No-No Boy song featuring The New Celestial String Band. As understated as the A-side is boisterous, it takes inspiration from the traditional "Cannonball Blues," approaching the tune from the perspective of a Chinese American immigrant railroad worker who, after building the transcontinental train lines that laid the groundwork for massive cultural and economic expansion, was deported back to China in 1885. The song is heartbreaking and full of life, highlighting Saporiti’s masterful storytelling and creative production techniques.