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Letters to Italy

Sara Marinelli

Letters to Italy by Sara Marinelli is an eighth-part series about the impact of Covid-19 on Italian immigrants in the Bay Area. How did Italian expats feel when they received news of their country being the epicenter of the pandemic in the Western world, and how did it affect their distant relationship to home? At the intersection of personal memoir and documentary, each episode features conversations with an Italian expat to hear how the pandemic reshaped their life in the U.S., and how they tried to remain connected to Italy in a time of crisis and forced separation. Conversations bring up questions of belonging, resilience, community, and how to transform challenges into possibilities.

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The sixth episode of "Letters to Italy" by Sara Marinelli features Laura Inserra, world-renown hang musician, composer, and multi-instrumentalist.
Laura tells the story of how from the restrictions of her Sicilian background, she moved to the Bay Area in 2006 to experiment with new professional possibilities in music and technology.
Unable to perform, teach, and produce music events during the pandemic, Laura did live streams of what she describes as sound journeys - called "Shelter in Music.”
Laura conceived the sound journeys as her way to support her family in Sicily by teaching them to use music as a shelter during the strict lockdown in Italy.
She shares the moving story of how from her fear to be judged and misunderstood by her traditional Sicilian family seeing her play many unconventional instruments, she instead discovered and established a deeper connection with her family like she had never done before.

Bonuses of this episode***: Laura Inserra’s music; the sound of her several instruments, and of a lovely and lively Easter dinner in Sicily with her family members.


Episode notes
Producer/Editor: Sara Marinelli

Sound design: Sara Marinelli

Intro and outro music: “Hopeful Motivation” - James Yan

Tracks by Laura Inserra: "Serendipity", "Dedication," "Eternal Wisdom".
Excerpt from "Shelter in Music."
Website for Laura Inserra:
Website for Sara Marinelli:
IG: @saramarinelli1

This series was made possible thanks to the support of COMITES of San Francisco and the Italian Consulate of San Francisco, with funding from the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

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