by Nicole Tami, United States
My father moved North to the German-speaking part of Switzerland in his early twenties and married my mother who came from Bern. I was born in Zurich. After my parents separated, my mother and I immigrated to the United States which has been my primary home since I was eight years old. Our Ticino heritage is preserved primarily through cultural practices such as food and language. We regularly eat dishes such as polenta, risotto, and pasta. More specifically through music and song. I grew up hearing my grandparents sing traditional folk songs. Both my father and grandfather play the accordion. My father also plays the clarinet and founded a traditional bandella Ticinese, which in the past performed at various public functions around the Zurich area. Hearing and singing these folk songs I has helped me retain my Italian language proficiency. I regularly sing to my 3 year old daughter and although she does not speak Italian, she can sing a number of classic children’s songs from Ticino (one is even sung in a local dialect) and knows a few phrases in Italian.