Juana Molina’s magic carpet lands in Montreal

Juana Molina intends to thrill crowds with her performance in Montreal, as she is planning some special surprises for her audience.

Her ability to communicate in French always makes the Argentinian songstress feel comfortable with her surroundings in Montreal. “I think it is a matter of codes and language that makes me feel better.I feel a little bit [at] home,” she said. She does however recognize that language can be a barrier for audiences listening to her music.

Molina does not believe in translating her songs, originally-written in Spanish, to other languages. “If I have to translate there would be a rupture in the meaning,” she said. “I can’t translate a song because the inner meaning would be lost.” Molina does have songs in English and French, but said she only felt comfortable singing them because they were “born” that way.

At her show the audience can expect songs from all of her three albums, Son (2006), Segundo (2003), and Tres Cosas (2002). The simple Spanish words she uses throughout her songs are one of the methods she uses “connecting people to the soul.”

On her latest album Molina uses a special technique that she had been working on for years: the ability to loop segments of her songs. Molina explained how the idea of looping came about when she was a child. “I remember playing the same chord over and over again for months,” she said. “I was driven by my own playing. a force that was coming to me from somewhere,” she explained. She expressed the happiness she felt as a child when visiting some of her parents’ hippie friends. “I remember listening to [their Indian] music,” she recalled.

As she started composing her first album in 1996, Molina was forced to suspend her work on looping and develop more structured songs, commonly involving choruses and verses. As she gained experience, Molina decided to pursue her original passion. After a long search, Molina found the looping machine she was looking for. “It is a pedal you record on. I record the guitar for a while and then play off the keyboard,” she explained.

She created her latest album, Son, with collective sounds of different instruments and was able to play it live as a result of her looping machine. A certain keyboard sound in the past would have been used only in one song, but according to Molina, “I can use a combination now, I can have four sounds.” The overlapping effect of the loop is what makes the “timbre”, or general tone of the song as referred to in Spanish.

The method also helped Molina compose songs about nature, the theme she is attracted to the most. “I think nature is magic.the sound of the bird and the way their sounds overlap, that is the magic I try to copy.” Molina explained that she had not lost the connection to her past songs, although her style has changed somewhat since her early releases. “Rara” off her first album, means “weird” and still has a special meaning for her, especially as it is the first song she wrote. “It was the state of [my] soul when a guy left [me].”

She likes to write her songs in first person to create “a convincing story.” “I speak [of] things that could happen, but haven’t, as if they are real,” she said.

Molina hopes that her show in Montreal will be one of her best, and encourages her audience to join her on her “magic carpet ride.”

Juana Molina plays La Sala Rossa on Oct. 11.

Tickets are $12 / $15 at the door.


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