Celebrating Marciano Cantero With 7 Essential Los Enanitos Verdes Tracks: Editor’s Picks

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Rock en español has lost a legend.

Marciano Cantero (real name Horacio Eduardo Cantero Hernández) — who led Los Enanitos Verdes as their frontman since 1979 when the band formed in Argentina — died on Thursday (Sept. 8) at 62 years old, leaving a remarkable legacy as a Latin rock pioneer and a vast catalog of songs that will live on forever.

More from Billboard

Most will remember him for the anthemic heartbreak track “Lamento Boliviano,” a radio hit that played in households across Latin America from Argentina to Mexico. After being released in 1994, the song became an instant earworm (and a karaoke go-to) thanks in large part to its instrumental intro, powered by a zampoña (traditional Andean panpipe), which lures you in. Then, there’s the euphoric chorus that comes in mid-song — which has no lyrics, but rather a nostalgic cry, which goes somewhat like: “Uoh, io, io, io-uoh-oh, ye-eh-eh-eh, yeh-eh.”

Throughout their career, Los Enanitos Verdes — composed of Cantero, alongside Felipe Staiti and Daniel Piccolo — has scored three entries on Top Latin Albums, including Pescado Original (No. 37), Tic Tac (No. 55) and En Vivo (No. 75). On Hot Latin Songs, the group has two entries: “Mariposas” (No. 19) and cover song “Tu Carcel” (No. 44).

Below, Billboard remembers and celebrates Cantero’s legacy with seven essential tracks that are also some of our personal favorites.

“Luz de Día” 

Cantero was particularly great at tugging at your heartstrings and getting you in your feelings with rock ballads that he always interpreted with such pathos. His delivery of “Luz de Día” is no exception and to this day gives me goosebumps. A song about “a reencuentro de almas (a reunion of two souls)” as he puts in the video below, this slowed-down track is, without a doubt, a classic in Latin music and one of Enanitos’ most iconic songs. — GRISELDA FLORES

“Eterna Soledad”

Notably, one of Los Enanitos Verdes most emblematic tracks, released in 1996, “Eterna Soledad” didn’t get on my radar until my high school years (2001-2005) thanks to a group of Argentine friends. This soft-rock ballad has simplicity in its melodies and mightiness in its lyrics, bringing a message about “eternal loneliness” but also about taking risks, finding strength, and moving forward in life. Personally, it’s a song I will always return to when I’m having the toughest of days. Twenty-six years later, “Eterna Soledad” remains a staple in Latin music, especially at karaoke bars and among cover bands and artists. — JESSICA ROIZ

“Lamento Boliviano”

Considered one of the most popular songs in the history of Latin American rock, Los Enanitos’ “Lamento Boliviano” was actually a cover of a song from the ’80s by the Argentine rock band Alcohol Etílico: “Soy Como Una Roca (Lamento Boliviano)”. But it was Marciano Cantero’s voice, along with the band’s inclusion of Andean instruments and an iconic guitar solo, that gave it international prominence. Since then, artists including Noel Schajris and Yandel have recorded their own versions. In 2019, J Balvin and Bad Bunny used parts of it in “Un Peso,” also featuring Cantero, which was included on the star duo’s joint set Oasis. — SIGAL RATNER ARIAS

“Mi Primer Día Sin Ti” 

I’m a sucker for melancholic Cantero. I do love the more uptempo songs such as “Por El Resto” and “Guitarras Blancas,” but there’s something about breakup tracks like “Mi Primer Día Sin Ti,” penned by the singer himself, that can really move the masses with its relatable lyrics. “I’m not used to this/ My first day without you. I still use ‘us’ when I’m thinking about you,” he simply puts it. The heartbreaking lyrics pair perfectly with equally nostalgic electric guitar tones that really give this song an edge, and make it a true gem. — G.F.

“Amores Lejanos”

It’s something about the guitar riffs in the first 15 seconds that will always transport me to 16-year-old Jess, listening to “Amores Lejanos” on her CD player while swinging on a hammock in her grandmother’s backyard in Nicaragua. But this romantic rock song, released in 2002, represents far more than just a tune that takes me back to my best summers in the motherland. It represents the first time I wholeheartedly fell hard for a boy, a 19-year-old small-town college student whom I met in Nicaragua, and who had a very short-lived, but memorable, long-distance relationship with. Think emails and MSN messenger, but with “Amores Lejanos” — a song precisely about far-away love — always connecting us. — J.R.

“Mejor No Hablemos de Amor” 

Written by the band’s guitarist, Felipe Staiti, this song (from Enanitos Verdes’s 1994 album Big Bang) is not only just fun to sing along to, but also a song that many adopted in the ’90s as an anthem. Titled “Mejor No Hablemos de Amor,” which loosely translates to “Let’s Just Not Talk About Love,” the song captures that free spirit most rockeros proudly defended: “I don’t know what happened, or how it started/ Let’s just not talk about love/ Why are you going to wait for something I can’t give you?” — G.F.

“Guitarras Blancas”

One of Los Enanitos Verdes’ earlier hits, “Guitarras Blancas” (1988) best encompassed the booming Rock en Español movement at the time, which also included acts such as Heroes del Silencio, Los Prisioneros, Soda Stereo, Caifanes, and many more. With easy lyrics to sing along to, “Guitarras” is rebellious and carefree, and delivered a very much-needed message during the “Dirty War” in Argentina. “Don’t talk about New York now/ To be in Rome or Disneyworld/ I just want them to let us dance here,” Marciano chanted in the up-tempo rock jam — which, right up to today, still gets every roquero jumping on their feet. — J.R.

Click here to read the full article.