Songs of Italese Memories

I’ve wanted to record my grandparents’ stories for years. Knowing they are aging, coupled with COVID-19 worries, makes me acutely aware: time is now. 

I am in the process of creating a body of work inspired by interviews, and research on my family history and Italian-Canadian culture. The songs speak to the intersectionality of the Italian Diaspora, women’s rights, racism, trauma, food, religion, politics, environmentalism, and what it means to be a settler. I am incorporating Canadian & Italian, traditional & modern musicality.

I have been loving spending time on my Nonni's porch, conducting interviews. Soon, I'll be interviewing their children (my Zii) as well. Amid all this, I am researching local and Italian history and music by studying selected written and recorded works - music of past and present, novels, poetry, non-fiction. 

This project involves an immersive culinary & cultural components as well: making traditional family recipes, and travelling to local "story locations", as they are today.

I will respect social distancing measures for as long as necessary - i.e. interviews over the phone / outdoors and 2-meters apart; songwriting at my home office/studio. 

This project will contribute to a greater goal of presenting a collaborative multi-media collection of work by Italian-Canadians in Guelph, creatively interpreting and presenting our familys’ history. This will be presented as a free, one-day bilingual event to bring the community together to examine shared memories, beliefs, and values. If you are a local Italian-Canadian artist interested in collaborating, I'd love to hear from you!

I'm deeply grateful for the support of the Ontario Arts Council in funding this project.