From the beginning, music ran through his veins. Celeste Carballo’s niece. Lito’s younger sister, member of Spinetta Jade. Her grandfather was a guitarist for the tango singer Agustín Magaldi. She was also a descendant of a Mapuche cacique. All that mix was Maria Gabriela Epumerone of the pioneers of national rock who suffered a cardiorespiratory arrest 20 years ago and became a legend.
Born in 1963, from a very young age she demonstrated her future. She, with her friend Claudia Sinesi, composed and played the guitar, a Gibson that belonged to David Lebón. Her brother introduced her to Pedro Aznar and in the afternoons the three of them would get together to jam. All this musical influence reached the ears of María Rosa Yorio, who invited her to be part of her band at just 16 years old for the recording of the album “Con los ojos cerrados”. The 1980s began and with it the career of María Gabriela.
Two years later she began playing in Rouge, a national rock band that played covers in English, along with her friend Claudia. However, the Malvinas war would change the whole scenario. English songs were banned from radios and the band broke up. However, both friends had their own songs and wanted to continue playing. They briefly teamed up with Tweety González and Jota Morelli until Mavi Díaz contacted Claudia, Claudia Ruffinatti joined them and that’s how it was born “Widow and Daughters of Roque Enroll“. The success was absolute. Formally was the first all-female rock band, with an imprint and a very accentuated and particular aesthetic. Between 1983 and 1988 they released three albums, their main hits being “lollipop“, “I’m hitting rock bottom” (with an explicit mention of the International Monetary Fund” and “Yellow polka dot bikini“. Epumer sang, composed and played the guitar and the band was one of the most important in that stage of Argentine rock, the theme also being highlighted
Against the machismo of the time, “Viudas” had the merit, among several others, of demonstrating that women were not only there to be chorus girls and singers, but also to compose and perform their own music.. They founded “Maleta de loca” with her friend Claudia, they released a record and also accompanied her aunt Celeste’s duet with Sandra Mihanovich. By 1992, María Gabriela Epumer accompanied Luis Alberto Spinetta as a guitarist for the live presentation of “Pelusón of milk”. The creative need to put together women’s bands led her to put together “Chicas” in 1993, the year in which they became the guest opening act for the presentation of “El amor después del amor” by fito paez in Velez.
It was also in 1993 when charly garcia He proposed to be part of his band after having seen her play in Vélez. Thus it was that at the age of 30, with all the accumulated experience, Mapu was part of the Say No More experience: between 1994 and 1995 he recorded the albums La hija de la lágrima, Estaba en llamas when I went to bed and Hello!, the unplugged that Charly launched for MTV.
High, getting higher
In the mid-nineties, Epumer went solo with A1. The bond with Charly was still so strong that he was even the one who proposed the name of the band, they always followed each other closely and the connection between the two would remain intact. In 1998 he recorded “El aguante”, another album by Charly and with the return of sui generis Nor could it be less, being part of “Sinfonía para adolescentes” along with Nito Mestre.
At the beginning of the millennium, he released “Perfume” with luxury collaborations: Fernando Samalea, Christian Basso, Robert Fripp (the leader of the progressive rock band King Crimson), the inflatable Charly García, Luis Alberto Spinetta, his friend Claudia Sinesi, Richard Coleman , Francisco Bochatón, among others. Everyone without exception recognized and valued Epumer’s work and career, in a moment of full realization of the artist. She continued collaborating with Charly, this time for “Influencia” in 2003 and in between until she released “Pocketpop”, a two-song EP.
Say no more
But everything would end abruptly that same year. He came from respiratory problems and a round trip with different hospitals due to a flu that worsened or turned into something else, decanted into a cardiorespiratory arrest on June 30, 2003. María Gabriela was 39 years old and the autopsy showed a pulmonary edema as the cause of death. For the artistic world, she was a blow, especially for her confidant and friend Charly García.
In 2017, the day Mapu would have turned 54 and in relation to the release of his album, Charly posted: “I think a lot about you, María Gabriela. I still turn around at shows to look for your complicit look. I hope they have a record player in Heaven. Random is my humble tribute to the best guitarist that ever lived.”
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National rock. María Gabriela Epumer, 20 years without “the best guitarist that ever existed”