Argentine Juana Molina’s Album ‘Halo’ Draws Universal Rhythms from Our Collective Unconscious

Juana Molina’s journey to musical stardom is a winding one.

Born to a musical family in Argentina, she began learning to play guitar at the age of five. When the 1976 military coup forced the family to flee the country, they lived in Paris, France for six years. Molina eventually returned to Argentina in her twenties. Looking only for a job that would let allow her the time to dedicate herself to music, she auditioned for a TV show. The program hired her immediately and within three years she had a hit comedy show of her own. Almost a decade after her TV debut, Molina became pregnant and had to suspend her show. The break turned out to be a productive one. It gave her time to reflect, and ultimately Molina decided to leave television and return to music.

A courageous move, Molina’s return to music was not an easy one. Fans held the cancellation of the show against her and after the release of her first album in 1996, those who attended concerts were befuddled by the lack of comedy. She stayed resolute in her decision, however, and two decades and six albums later, Juana Molina is world-renowned, receiving features in the New York Times, Pitchfork, The Quietus, NPR, and many others. On May 5th, she released her seventh album, Halo, through Crammed Discs.

Halo is not a pop record, but it is the kind of album whose songs stick in your head. Its twelve tracks revel in hypnotic rhythms that feel uncannily familiar, as if they were culled from our collective unconscious. With its timbral explorations, ever-changing soundscapes, and voices that drift from proper speech into simple sounds, Halo directs listeners toward a wordless truth in the way only great art can.  

Halo by Juana Molina is out now through Crammed Discs and available on Amazon, the Crammed Shop, and iTunes.

Writer’s Note: In addition to contributing to The Manual, I work at a music promotion company, Distiller Promo, that is currently promoting Halo.