Los Enanitos Verdes at the Viña Festival: when Latin rock ate the Monster

A popular Mendoza legend tells that in 1979 a family of tourists wanted to commemorate their trip with a photograph while visiting the Puente del Inca, a protected natural area of ​​the province and declared a World Heritage Site a few years ago. The tasty part of the story comes some time later, when at the moment of revealing the snapshot they noticed there, next to them, the presence of some Enanitos Verdes in round The postcard would have been the cover of some local newspapers and the oldest ones risk that it was even sent to NASA in order to verify its authenticity.

Anyway, that is the germ of the name that he gave to his band —or rather received from a chronicler— the trio that at that time made up Horacio “Marciano” Cantero, Felipe Staiti and Daniel Piccolo: Los Enanitos Verdes. It is also true that they could become known as the Puente del Inca, but ultimately they stayed with the unlikely protagonists of the story.

From that curious name is that there were presentations like the one given by Pamela Hodar, former television host and national politician, on the night of Wednesday, February 17, 1988, by the way, the opening day of the XXIX Viña del Mar Song Festival:

—They don’t come from Mars —she started her intro, dressed in a striking electric blue dress, close to a young Antonio Vodanovic—, they only come from Mendoza. A flying saucer lands on this stage. With that joy, with that enthusiasm, we welcome these invaders.

“With you, The Green Dwarfs!”

By then, the Argentine band in charge of opening Viña ’88 was a devastating success on the radio. Both from Chile and from the other side of the mountain range. It is no exaggeration to say that they followed in the footsteps of Miguel Mateos and Soda Stereo by conquering South America. Perhaps what is striking is that, in their case, they had been playing for almost a decade, but only about four since they released their first hit, “Aún sigo cantando”, and their first self-titled album.

From there, already with Tito Dávila on keyboards, they teamed up with Andrés Calamaro to release their second studio album, time trial (1986), which consolidated them and made them a mass success. “Your old letters” became his emblem song and “The green wall” or “Simulation of tension” sounded everywhere. That warm reception allowed them, a year later, to record Strange Rooms, adding new hits to their repertoire, such as “I saw you on a train” or a revamped version of “The stranger with long hair”, a classic by La Joven Guardia, by some two decades earlier.

Thus, with a songbook that had at least five or six wins, the door of Viña del Mar was opened to them:

“Really, for me… I find it impressive, and the only thing I can say is that I love them very much, that I love them. I think the four of us love you, because you are the warmest and most impressive audience we have ever played for, really”, Maciano Cantero told Antonio Vodanovic, amid a shower of shouts and applause, just before receiving the first of the two silver torches that they harvested after their presentation in front of the Monster.

A short but powerful show was dispatched on stage. It lasted just over half an hour and was made up of ten songs, most of them their hits:

  • I saw you on a train
  • conscience against the clock
  • your old letters
  • Every time I say goodbye
  • the green wall
  • For the rest
  • I’m still singing
  • The stranger with the long hair
  • stress drill
  • just give me another chance

As was the dynamic of that time, Los Enanitos also climbed to the set of Quinta Vergara during the second night, after the presentations of Mr Mister, the young Chayanne, Vivian Reed and the number of El Huaso Clavel.

Later, thanks to the repercussion of “La Muralla Verde”, a hit of the moment, they offered another massive concert in Santiago. And that same year, they edited carouselwith singles like “Guitarras blanca” or “Sos un perdedor”.

Cantero’s death

This Thursday The sad death of the founder and frontman of Los Enanitos Verdes, Horacio Eduardo Cantero, Marciano, was confirmed at the age of 62.

He had been hospitalized since the end of August at the Cuyo Clinic in his native Mendoza. He had been admitted due to severe pain in the abdominal area, which the doctors later diagnosed as a “kidney condition”. His health picture, as detailed by his relatives and the band’s manager, Juan Carlos Mendiry, worsened on Wednesday night.

“As much as I am very sad, I am 30 and these 30 years that I was able to spend with him was a gift. I can’t help but be happy for the great man he was and for all the love that they gave him these days, ”said his son, Javier, visibly affected to the microphones, after the news was confirmed.

In his words, Marciano’s last hours were not entirely good: “Today he was better, but the truth is that the situation was critical. The truth is that the picture was not very good. I want him to be remembered not only as the songwriter, the singer, the artist that he was but also as a wonderful person and my best friend in the world.”

In one of his last interviews, which he gave last November, Cantero had announced a new big tour for Los Enanitos Verdes and had revealed some details of what his life was like now, at the age of 62:

“I am dedicating myself to my garden and to a domestic life that I had almost never had, my sleep improved, I started doing gymnastics, I changed my diet, I stopped eating flour, I tried it for two weeks and it was great, so I continued. I was also working as a carpenter, making the acoustic panels in the room where I work, I was active in other things”.

Their last show was offered on August 14 in Orlando, United States. “Thank you Orlando, the last show of this fantastic tour,” Marciano wrote on that occasion.

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