José Molina Zúñiga was a musician from Granada, friend of Ángel Barrios, Isaac Albéniz, Manuel de Falla and Federico García Lorca, who was part of the cast that participated, with Falla and other supporting musicians, in the puppet show on the Three Kings Day in 1923.
His fame came as a member of the Trio Albéniz. It seems that his lute and guitar methods were ahead of their time, but his work was always silent and modest. In addition to being an exceptional teacher and performer, he was a composer, especially of boleros and couplets. Many well-known artists sang his songs.
Thanks to a contest organized by the Provincial Council of Granada in which he won a violin, at the age of 9 he was able to begin a musical career that was later to be brilliant. He played as a soloist, as part of orchestras or accompanying artists in the most famous and frequented cafés of the early twentieth century (the Swiss, the Alameda, the Hollywood, the Café Flor…).
His fame, however, came as a member of the Albéniz Trio. Although he could play several instruments, as a lute player he was highly praised by the press of the time. In the early 20th century, the Albéniz Trio was very active and successful. They toured Spain and Europe. They visited Falla and rehearsed with him pieces that the composer was going to premiere. José Molina became friends with the most important artists of that time, including Federico García Lorca.
On the Epiphany night of 1923, he attended the puppet show organized at the Lorca’s house. That night an interlude attributed to Cervantes, The Two Talkers, an old Andalusian tale in three prints and a chrome , The Girl who Waters the Basil and the Wondering Prince, dialogued and adapted by Federico García Lorca and the Mystery of the Three Kings, from the 13th century (theater flat), was performed. The Hermenegildo Lanz was in charge of the scenery, puppets and flat figures. The music for the entire program was performed by Manuel de Falla (piano and harpsichord), José Gómez (violin), Alfredo Baldrés (clarinet) and José Molina (lute). Isabel García Lorca and Laura de los Ríos sang.
He was in any musical group that arose in Granada, as a teacher and collaborator. It seems that his lute and guitar methods were ahead of their time, but his work was always silent and modest. In addition to being an exceptional teacher and performer, he was a composer, especially of boleros and couplets. Many well-known artists sang his songs.
He died in Granada in 1985.