Born in Argentina, Juana Molina grew up in a musical environment. Her father, revered tango singer and composer Horacio Molina, gave her guitar lessons from the age of five. Her mother, actress Chunchuna Villafañe, is a committed music lover who initiated Juana to the secrets of her extensive record collection.
Following the military coup of 1976, the Molina family fled the country and lived in exile in Paris for six years. During those formative teenage years in Paris, Juana’s outlook on music was vastly expanded, a.o. by regularly listening to a couple of French radio stations which offered programs featuring music from around the globe.
When Juana returned to Argentina she was determined to become independent and to pursue a career in music. Like so many other 20-somethings, Juana’s career aspirations were, “to earn a good salary for working just a few hours”, in order to keep free time to develop her musicianship. She knew she had a knack for doing imitations, and went to pass an audition for a TV program. She got hired on the spot.
Her popularity rose meteorically and, three years later, she had her own comedy show, for which she invented & impersonated a series of hilariously stereotyped characters. The show was a great success, it was syndicated to other Latin American countries and, within just a few years, Juana had become the most popular comedian in Argentina.
Seven years after her TV debut, Juana became pregnant, and had to suspend the show for a few months. She found herself reflecting on her rapid rise to stardom, and thought: “This really isn’t what I wanted to do.”
She took the brave resolution to cancel the show (something that many Argentinians would hold against her for years), and to pick up music again. She started writing and recording songs. She released her first album in 1996, and the reception was more than reserved: her fans would come to her shows, expecting to giggle and laugh, but couldn’t quite understand this new “folk singer” character of hers (she kept singing, and the punchline never came…)
After the release of her 2nd and 3rd album, she quickly became the darling of the international indie/electronic/folk scene, and praise began pouring in from admirers in all corners.
“Tres Cosas” was placed in the “Top Ten Records of 2004” by The New York Times, she was championed by the likes of David Byrne and Will Oldham, and her music – which, although it features elements of folk, ambient, and electronica, is highly unique and personal – was often lazily compared by critics to that of Björk or Beth Orton. But, as the New York Times put it, Ms Molina doesn’t imitate anyone. She has too much fun just being herself.
Since the release of her acclaimed “Wed 21” album at the tail end of 2013, Juana Molina has performed scores of shows around Europe, the US, Latin America and Southeast Asia. Her most recent tour was in May 2017 with her latest album Halo.