Friday, October 28, 2005

Live Review: Juana Molina@Old Town 10/28/05

Juana Molina's album, Tres Cosas, is an experimental, ambient jewel from my World music collection. Juana Molina on stage, however, was not at all what I was expecting. Her instrument set-up was bizarre for a solo act. She had an odd contraption with many knobs on top of a set of multiple keyboards, a myriad of pedals and wires, and a guitar. The way she played her songs was fascinating, she began with a guitar riff or a keyboard chord/melody and recorded it. Then she looped that sound and continued with her song. Her music can be haunting, but her live presence was the complete opposite. In fact, she had a sense of humor! Song intros, funny stories, and even a French serenade peppered the performance with a light feeling. I still have yet to decide if I liked her personality. On one hand, she is poking fun at herself. On the other hand, is making music a joke to her? At times it was hard to tell where her performance was coming from--then again, this also could be attributable to the fact that I don't speak Spanish. Attitude aside, the quality of her voice was not disappointing. Molina has a very pure voice and it resonated with perfect tone throughout the Old Town School of Folk Music. -Megan Timmons Editor's note: Couldn't agree more with Megan about the strange juxtaposition between Molina's live and recorded presence. Listening to her records, I always thought she sounded a bit dark and mysterious. On stage, she was a total flake! A bit confused by the whole experience, I looked up Molina's bio the next day on AllMusic and it explained everything: "[Molina] is best known in South America as a comedic television actress." Here I was expecting to see Argentina's answer to Beth Orton, and it turns out she is more like Argentina's answer to Lisa Kudrow...if she were to take her "Phoebe" routine and attempt serious music. Granted that is short changing Molina quite a bit, but remember Phoebe's "Smelly Cat" song? Well, Molina sang "El Perro" (the dog) where she literally barked and whined like a dog for well over the last minute of the song. Needless to say, I'll never be able to listen to Molina in the same way again.


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