Giovanna Marini distinguishes herself for her artistic versatility as an ethnomusicologist, a songwriter and a performer. Her interests lie especially in the Italian folk tradition (Lu picurare. Canzoni popolari abruzzesi,1963; : La disispirata. Canzoni popolari sarde, 1965) and political songs (!I treni per Reggio Calabria," 1976).
Her collaboration with Nuovo canzoniere italiano, Scuola popolare di musica di Testaccio and Istituto Ernesto De Martino testify to her commitment and scholarly activity. In 1964 she performed a WWI song ("Gorizia tu sei maledetta") at Festival dei due mondi di Spoleto, including some quite inflammatory, uncensored lyrics from the first stanza "Traditori signori ufficiali / che la guerra l'avete voluta / scannatori di carne venduta / e rovina della gioventù (Traitors, you officers / who wanted the war, / butchers of meat for sale / and ruin of the youth), causing a stir in the audience and a lawsuit from the armed forces.
She often performed or recorded songs in collaboration with other songwriters, and especially songs with political content such as "Valle Giulia" and "Contessa" by Paolo Pietrangeli" or "Nina ti te ricordi" by Gualtiero Bertelli.
"Vi parlo dell'America" offers an unflattering vision of her stay in Boston, MA, from the point of view of a Marxist intellectual who could not have appreciated the American lifestyle.
She has often performed, composed or recorded with Italian cantautori (Francesco De Gregori, Ivan Della Mea, Francesco Guccini, Caterina Bueno). Among her own production "Lamento per la morte di Pasolini" stands out as a heartfelt mourning for the murder of writer and film maker Pier Paolo Pasolini, who was brutally murdered on November 2nd, 1975 in yet to be clarified circumstances.
In recent years Marini has written music for cinema and theatre.