Juana Molina

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Juana Molina
Juana Molina 2009.jpg
Juana Molina in Buenos Aires, 2009
Background information
Birth name Juana Molina Villafañe
Born (1962-10-01) 1 October 1962 (age 52)
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Genres Folktronica, ambient, experimental, neofolk, indietronica, psychedelic, indie pop
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter, actress
Years active 1967–present
Labels Domino Records, Crammed Discs
Website www.juanamolina.com

Juana Molina Villafañe (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,[1] experimental,[2] neofolk,[3] indietronica,[4] psychedelic,[5] and indie pop.[6]

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. 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."[7]

Life and career[edit]

1962–87: Early life and career beginnings[edit]

Juana Molina Villafañe was born to a family of artists in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on 1 October 1962.[8] She is the eldest daughter of Horacio Molina, a popular tango singer, and Chunchuna Villafañe, a celebrated actress and model. She has a younger sister, Inés Molina, who has also worked as an actress and musician. The aristocratic family lived in the centric Buenos Aires barrio of Caballito.[8] Her mother was an avid record collector, exposing her daughter to various types of music.[9] She began to learn to play at age 5.[10] In 1967, Juana recorded her first song with his father, "Te regalo esta canción" ("I gift you this song"), as a gift to Villafañe for Mother's Day.[11] Horacio Molina released the song as a single —without her young daughter knowning and including another track recorded alongside Inés—, which sold 45 thousand copies.[8] She also performed the song live with his father in national television.[12]

In 1976, the Molina family fled to Paris, France, escaping from the National Reorganization Process, a military dictatorship that overthrew president Isabel Martínez de Perón.[13] While in Paris, Molina attended music school,[13] and her musical palette was vastly expanded as she listened to what is now known as "world music" in French radio stations.[14] In various interviews, Molina has recalled a visit to a Spanish hippie family friend that introduced her to Indian classical music, whose drones have had an enduring influence in her music.[8][11][15]

With the end of the dictatorship, Molina returned to Buenos Aires. To finance her architecture studies, she had various small jobs, including an unsuccessful experience as a backing vocalist in small bands.[8][10]

1988–94: Television success[edit]

As she could not make a living through music, Molina decided to find a job that payed well and did not consume much time.[13] She strategically decided on a career in television as the best means to her end, and studied the TV lineup for some months looking for a show that could use her services.[14] She recorded a homemade audition tape to the studio and was offered a contract the same day.[14] Molina began her television career in 1988 with the ATC show La noticia rebelde ("Rebel News", a world play on La novicia rebelde), where she would record one day a week, and get payed for five.[13] Her popular sketches parodied porteño women of various social classes.[8]

In October of the same year, Molina joined the cast of El mundo de Antonio Gasalla ("Antonio Gasalla's World"), led by comedy actor Antonio Gasalla.[16][17] The show, which ran until 1990, further cemented her popularity as a sketch comedy actress and writer. The show was also performed live at the Teatro Gran Rex and in Mar del Plata. The pinnacle of her success came with her own show, Juana y sus hermanas ("Juana and Her Sisters", a world play on Hannah and Her Sisters), which premiered in 1991. Molina arguably became Argentina's most popular comedian,[18] having her show syndicated to other Latin American countries.[14] Molina was dubbed "the new Niní Marshall", and won two Martín Fierro Awards.[19] A compilation album of songs by Molina featured in the show was released.[16]

In 1993 Molina got pregnant of her only child, Francisca, and had to suspend her show.[19] Reflecting on her rapid rise to stardom and distance from the music career she had always wanted, the actress decided to cancel the show in 1994.[14] She recalls: "There was a moment when I imagined myself watching MTV as a decrepit old woman (like MTV would last a lifetime), thinking 'I could have done that.' I pictured myself feeling an infinite grudge, hatred, envy".[20]

1995-2001: Rara and Segundo[edit]

Produced by Gustavo Santaolalla and recorded in 1995, Molina's debut album, Rara, was released in May 1996.



  • Juana y sus hermanas (1991)
  • A○○B (with Alejandro Franov) (2002)


  • "Te regalo esta canción" / "Eso eres mamá" (with Horacio and Inés Molina) (1967)
  • "Sálvese quien pueda" (2005)
  • "Un día (Reboot Remix)" (2010)
  • "Eras" (2013)

Appearances in other media[edit]

In 2004, Molina voiced the character Elastigirl for the Argentine dub of the film The Incredibles.


  1. ^ Sender. "Juana Molina - Un Dia". Tiny Mix Tapes. Retrieved 27 October 2014. 
  2. ^ Denselow, Robin (7 November 2013). "Juana Molina – review". theguardian.com. Retrieved 1 November 2014. 
  3. ^ Kemp, Mark. "Un Dia : Juana Molina : Review". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media LLC. Archived from the original on 19 October 2008. Retrieved 27 October 2014. 
  4. ^ Lusk, John. "Review of Juana Molina - Un Dia". BBC Online. Retrieved 27 October 2014. 
  5. ^ Edwards, D.M. "Juana Molina: Un Dia". PopMatters. PopMatters Media. Retrieved 27 October 2014. 
  6. ^ Kergan, Wade. "Juana Molina". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 27 October 2014. 
  7. ^ Vera Rojas, Yumber (14 January 2013). "10 discos esenciales del indie latinoamericano en 2013" (in Spanish). El País. Retrieved 1 November 2014. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f Escobar Páez, Fernando (16 September 2013). "Juana Molina: 'La verdad es que me da como miedo la gente'" (in Spanish). El Telégrafo, Republic of Ecuador. Retrieved 19 February 2015. 
  9. ^ Marseillan, Jimena (12 March 2014). "Entrevista: Juana Molina" (in Spanish). Vomb. Retrieved 19 February 2015. 
  10. ^ a b Demetilla, Silvia. "Juana Molina: la revancha del español en UK" (in Spanish). Sapo de otro pozo. Retrieved 20 February 2015. 
  11. ^ a b "Juana Molina". Vivo en Argentina (in Spanish). TV Pública Digital. Radio y Televisión Argentina S.E. 9 April 2012. Retrieved 19 February 2015. 
  12. ^ Moreno, María (30 November 2008). "Una magia modesta". Radar (in Spanish). Página/12. Editorial La Página S.A. Retrieved 19 February 2015. 
  13. ^ a b c d Ferreirós, Hernán (8 December 2002). "La Dama Juana". Radar (in Spanish). Página/12. Editorial La Página S.A. Retrieved 19 February 2015. 
  14. ^ a b c d e Tymorek, Guy (26 August 2010). "Juana Molina: Argentine Enchantress". The Argentina Independent. Retrieved 20 February 2015. 
  15. ^ Inzillo, Humphrey (1 August 2008). "Juana Molina “Casi no escucho música.”". Rolling Stone Argentina (in Spanish). Publirevistas S.A. Retrieved 19 February 2015. 
  16. ^ a b "Biografía" (in Spanish). Juana Molina - Sitio Oficial. Retrieved 19 February 2015. 
  17. ^ "Murió Norma Pons: los mejores momentos de una vedette que supo convertirse en actriz". La Nación (in Spanish). La Nación S.A. 29 April 2014. Retrieved 19 February 2015. 
  18. ^ "Juana Molina Announces U.S. Tour this April". Guitar World. NewBay Media. 19 March 2014. Retrieved 22 February 2015. 
  19. ^ a b Ortelli, Micaela (17 November 2013). "Ser Juana". Radar (in Spanish). Página/12. Editorial La Página S.A. Retrieved 22 February 2015. 
  20. ^ "Juana Molina: Soy lo que soy". Todoshow (in Spanish). INFOnews. Conurbano On Line SA. Retrieved 23 February 2015. 

External links[edit]