Arts &
  Arts Culture Analysis  
Vol. 5, No. 1, 2006

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Robert J. Lewis
  Senior Editor
Mark Goldfarb
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Bernard Dubé
Phil Nixon
Robert Rotondo
Marissa Consglieri de Chackal
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Diane Gordon
Emanuel Pordes
Serge Gamache
  Arts Editor
Lydia Schrufer
Mady Bourdage
Emanuel Pordes
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Ana Popovic
Martha Wainwright
Marc Jordan

Montreal Jazz Festival 2005







Piano Keyboard




Featured artist: JUANA MOLINA
Juana Molina


The song playing on the radio in the background was called “Cúrame.” I started listening to it because I understood the Spanish (my third language), which was good for an ego that needed some stroking. But after that, I wanted to know who was singing it, and was there more.

The singer-guitarist turned out to be Juana Molina, born in Argentina, self exiled in Paris for 6 years, returned to Buenas Aires to become a comedian-media star in the early 1990s, who then turned to music, eventually moving to L.A. where she recorded her third album, Tres Cosas.

Tres Cosas is special. I don’t think I’ve heard anything quite like it, even though it sounds quite folky. Juana Molina manages to be original in a toned down, mostly acoustic format. Her touch is soft but confident, and her chords often include an unexpected note that pins down a particular mood. What probably gives her music its unique je ne sais quoi is the time she has spent in L.A., and before that, Buenas Aires, along with her ability to tap into the strangeness of life that overcomes everyone from time to time in the big city.

On top of not quite conventional Argentine melodies, Molina adds loops that sound like sea spray, mixed in with spacey, ambient sound-effects, as well as an interesting range of feminine percussive taps and tingles, and even a xylophone. The result is an unlikely fusion of Latina, folk, ambient, New World, and for good measure a tablespoon of Radio Head, sung mostly in Spanish. That it all blends together so well is what continues to amaze me. Please don’t let the espagnol come between you and music that merits more air time and a wider listenership.

Outside of Spanish speaking communities, Juana Molina is hardly known in North America. Which doesn’t surprise me. Not if, but when she becomes known -- won’t surprise me, either.

Jimi Hendrix
Joni Mitchell
Stevie Wonder
Neil Young
John Lennon & Paul McCartney
Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan
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