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Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Tuneful Martian Invasion: Los Enanitos Verdes

Written by Washington Post Express contributor Alfredo Flores
Photo courtesy
DATELINE: Puente del Inca, Argentina, 1979. At the natural arch outside the industrial city of Mendoza, a visiting family took a photo of what appeared to be some 100 little green "extraterrestrials" wandering the highlands. A journalist friend of Marciano Cantero could only laugh when he saw this in the local paper, and dubbed Cantero's then brand-new band Los Enanitos Verdes (literally, "Little Green Men"). "We took that name as a joke at the beginning," says frontman Cantero, his nickname (Marciano means "martian") given to him by that same friend. "We honestly didn't think it'd stick for as long as it did." Turning 29 years this month, Los Enanitos are more than just veteran musicians; the trio helped bring to light the rock en español movement, starting out in Mendoza pubs, then selling out stadiums throughout Latin America, spreading their positive messages through catchy rock ballads. Among the most requested songs at Enanitos concerts include the rock-pop appreciation of good friends and not letting them escape in "Mariposas"; the hard guitar riffs in "Muralla Verde" about love lost; and "Lamento Boliviano," a powerful tribute to the indigenous races of Latin America, featuring soft guitar strums accented by Andean chants and zampoña panflute. Cantero describes Enanitos as a true "working band" and relishes feeding off the energy of a live crowd. "It's kind of like when [Diego] Maradona touches a soccer ball," he says. "It's incredible how much pure joy he shows when he plays, and our fans can truly feel it in their skin — how much we truly love performing for them." » State Theatre, 200 N. Washington, Falls Church; Sat., Nov. 15, 9 p.m., $30 in advance; $35 at the door; 703-237-0300. Tagged in Arts & Events

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