Madison Cunningham and Juana Molina bring their unique sound to Philly | The Triangle
Arts & Entertainment

Madison Cunningham and Juana Molina bring their unique sound to Philly

Photo by Kasey Shamis | The Triangle

At Ardmore Music Hall, folk artist Madison Cunningham and Argentinian folktronica artist Juana Molina made an impressive stop as a part of their “Not That Similar” tour. The tour’s title does an adequate job of describing the two’s musical careers, but their blend of unique sounds made for quite the show. 

Cunningham, a 27-year-old folk artist from California, began playing the guitar at the young age of seven and released her first music as a teenager. She found immediate success with her 2019 debut album, “Who Are You Now,” which was nominated for the Grammy for Best Americana Artist. Her folky, upbeat sound was improved on her following project, “Revealer,” which won the Grammy for Best Folk Album. Cunningham saw a rise in popularity of her music following opening for multiple big-name artists, including Harry Styles, Hozier, and recently, John Mayer.

Molina, a 62-year-old folktronica artist, was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, to tango singer Horacio Molina and actress Chunchuna Villafane. Molina created music from a young age, but gained popularity for her work as a comedic actress, starring in her own show, “Juana y sus Hermanas,” winning two Martin Fierro awards for her work. Realizing her true passion was music, Molina transitioned her career, releasing her first album, “Rara,” in 1996. After finding little success on Argentinian radio, she moved to Los Angeles, where her career took off, especially after the release of her second album, “Segundo,” which was met with better reception. 

The two artists embarked on tour this April, beginning in Savannah, Georgia, and making 11 stops, including Ardmore Music Hall, located in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. The two took the stage to a packed crowd at 7:30 p.m., and made a statement, opening with multiple duets following Molina’s folktronica style of music. Their duets featured both artists on guitar, with Molina mixing in sounds through a keyboard, and singing their lyrics in Spanish. 

Following their duets, Cunningham exited the stage to allow Molina to perform solo, where her ambient, psychedelic sounds graced the ears of the audience. The music was almost hypnotic, drawing the viewer’s eyes to the strategically lit stage, where Molina’s sound intrigued, yet comforted her audience. 

After Molina’s set, Cunningham returned to the stage, where prior to her performance, she spoke to the Ardmore crowd, proclaiming, “There’s no use in not being honest.” This is a common theme in her music, especially on her album “Revealer,” which is a beautiful, honest examination of the artist’s musical journey. “Don’t be shy, that’s the name of the game,” Cunningham announced. 

Still, before beginning play, Cunningham gave credit to her co-star of the evening, Molina, stating the opportunity to play with her has been, “the best thing that’s ever happened to me in my life.” In an Instagram post following their tour, Cunningham noted she was introduced to Molina’s music prior to hearing iconic bands, including the Beatles, and considered her an inspiration. 

After giving credit to Molina, Cunningham embarked on her set, showcasing her impressive skills on guitar and performing familiar songs the audience could sing along to, including “Pin it down.” Cunningham’s set was a real exhibition of the artist’s skill set and musical talent, as her sounds echoed throughout the music hall. 
Fans of Cunningham can hear her play this summer, as on July 1, she will be playing at NYC’s summerstage venue in Central Park, alongside the band La Lom and indie artist John-Robert.