Juana Molina in Los Angeles
|Birth name||Juana Molina|
1 October 1962 |
Buenos Aires, Argentina
|Genres||Folktronica, ambient, experimental, neofolk, indietronica, psychedelic|
|Occupation(s)||singer-songwriter and actress|
|Labels||Domino Records, Crammed Discs|
Juana Molina (pronounced: [´xwana mo´lina]; born October 1, 1962) is an Argentine singer-songwriter and actress. She is known for her distinctive sound, which is generally considered folktronica, but has also been described as ambient, experimental, neofolk, indietronica, and psychedelic.
Daughter of tango singer Horacio Molina and actress Chunchuna Villafañe, Molina achieved local fame as a sketch comedy actress in the 1990s, first as a guest in various shows and in 1991 with her own show, Juana y sus hermanas ("Juana and her sisters"). In the height of her popularity, Molina quit her job as an actress to pursue a career in music. Her debut album, Rara, was subsequently released 1996; panned by local critics who resented her departure from television. Dejected by the criticisms, she moved to Los Angeles, where her music had been better received, and she familiarized herself with electronic instruments. She then returned to Buenos Aires to produce her second album, Segundo, incorporating the sonic elements she had learned. Each one of her following albums have added a new complexity to her music, which is characterized by layered loops of acoustic and electronic sounds.
Despite the initial negative reaction to her music in her home country, music critics have consistently championed Molina's body of work, praising the uniqueness of her music and combination of experimentation and popular appeal. In 2013 El País wrote "she established herself as the star of the avant-garde sound of her country in the world."
Following the 1976 Argentine coup d'état her mother fled the country and lived in exile in Paris for five years. She grew up in a musical environment. Her famous tango-singing father Horacio Molina taught her guitar from the age of six.
Molina started her career in 1988 as a comedic television actress in Argentina on the show La Noticia Rebelde. She later starred in Juana y sus hermanas, a hit sketch show across the Spanish-speaking world, for which she remains widely known in Latin America.
In 1996 she gave up her successful comedy career in order to devote herself to her music. She released her first album Rara, followed by Segundo, which was reissued by Domino Records (who also put our her next three albums). She gained an extensive following in the US, Japan and Europe and toured extensively.
The lyrics on her albums are sung in her native Spanish, except "The Wrong Song," from Segundo which is in English and "Insensible" from Tres Cosas, which is in French. She is usually accompanied by acoustic guitar, among other instruments. Her music features elements of ambient and electronica and she is often compared by critics to Björk, Beth Orton and Lisa Germano. She usually writes, mixes tracks and performs on her own. Her second album Segundo was named Best World Music Album 2003 in Entertainment Weekly  and gained a Shortlist Award 2004 nomination. Tres Cosas was placed in the Top Ten Records of 2004 by the New York Times.
In 2007 she performed the vocals for the song "Seal" by The Chemical Brothers.
In 2011 Molina took part in the Congotronics vs Rockers collective project in which she collaborated and toured with Konono No.1, Deerhoof, Kasai Allstars, Wildbirds & Peacedrums and Matt Mehlan (Skeletons).
The first single and video from the album is the song "Eras". The video was premiered on Pitchfork.
- 1996 - Rara (Weird)
- 2000 - Segundo (Second)
- 2002 - Tres cosas (Three Things)
- 2006 - Son (They are / Tune)
- 2008 - Un día (One Day)
- 2013 - Wed 21
Appearances in other media
- Sender. "Juana Molina - Un Dia". Tiny Mix Tapes. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
- Denselow, Robin (7 November 2013). "Juana Molina – review". theguardian.com. Retrieved 1 November 2014.
- Kemp, Mark. "Un Dia : Juana Molina : Review". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media LLC. Archived from the original on 19 October 2008. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
- Lusk, John. "Review of Juana Molina - Un Dia". BBC Online. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
- Edwards, D.M. "Juana Molina: Un Dia". PopMatters. PopMatters Media. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
- Vera Rojas, Yumber (14 January 2013). "10 discos esenciales del indie latinoamericano en 2013". El País. Retrieved 1 November 2014.
- Larry Blumenfeld, Rob Brunner, Chris Willman (2003-12-26). "The Best of the Rest". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
- Sanneh, Kalefeh (2004-12-26). "The Year's Best Pop Albums: The College Dropout Who Made Good". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
- New York Times
- Pop Matters
- The Independent
- Eras video premiere on Pitchfork
- Official Web Site
- Juana Molina page on theCrammed Discs site
- Juana Molina on MySpace.com
- Juana Molina at Cinenacional.com
- Biography (Spanish)
- Short Q&A interview
- Remix and interview on WNYC's Radiolab podcast
- Juana Molina at NPR Music
- Venus Zine feature
- Video Interview and Performance in Buenos Aires, Argentina
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