María José Cantilo died, one of the pioneering women of national rock

Maria Jose Cantilo
Maria Jose Cantilo

Maria Jose Cantilo one of the pioneering women of the music scene of the 80s, died this Monday at the age of 68. She is a composer and guitarist, she recorded nine albums and collaborated with many of the main national rock artists. So far the causes of his death are unknown.

María José Cantilo was born on July 5, 1953 in Belgrano, in a large family with ten children, and the eldest of his brothers was Miguel Cantilo, a member of Pedro y Pablo. The singer-songwriter began studying guitar when she was 7 years old, and she spent her adolescence in the house of her brother Miguel de Ella, where other musicians such as Moris, Miguel Abuelo, Pappo, Kubero Díaz and Jorge Pinchevsky were also regulars.

In the mid-1970s, María José decided to change the Federal Capital for Patagonia and moved to El Bolsón to live in a self-sustaining community. In 1982 she returned to Buenos Aires, and her return coincided with the beginning of her career as a singer. After a stint at the La Falda and BA Rock festivals, where she performed alone with her guitar, María José Cantilo recorded her debut album in 1984, with a cast of guests that included David Lebón, León Gieco, Osvaldo Fattorusso, Daniel Colombres and his brother Miguel Cantilo. Despite the fact that the album had a Spanish version of Bob Dylan’s “Hurricane”, the reception of the album was moderate.

Maria Jose Cantilo-Gaspar Benegas-THE BEAR (Moris)

The moderate response received by his first record made Cantilo take five years to plan the next step. En banda saw the light in 1989, but success was also elusive. Three years later, his life would suffer a severe setback when, as a result of a trial for drug possession and trafficking, María José spent two years and two months detained in the Ezeiza prison, an experience that she recounted in the book from jail, published in 1994.

“In jail I learned a lot. But I took charge. I took it on, worked it out, and got over it. I do not intend to bury that stage of my life so that no one sees it. And the proof is that I carried the stigma on my shoulder, I walked with it and I always showed my face. But after so much darkness, I dedicated myself to assimilating light. The first thing was Aimé… and then books, music and love. Now I just have to prevent the same thing from happening to me again.” recognized the singer-songwriter on some occasion.

María José Cantilo was a hippie and rocker in the 70s and 80s, and in the 90s she was imprisoned in a resounding case for drug possession and trafficking
María José Cantilo was a hippie and rocker in the 70s and 80s, and in the 90s she was imprisoned in a resounding case for drug possession and trafficking

“Did the fact of having been imprisoned teach you anything?” They asked her once and she had no hesitation in answering. “That she can’t walk around life,” she said. “At one time she worked with very low energy people. I risked too much. The stick came to me and I had a hard time digesting it. I got into a topic that bordered on illegality. You never want to do wrong, but sometimes you barde, just unconsciously “, elapsed that dark time that he knew how to transit throughout his life.

The singer was a devotee of Sai Baba
The singer was a devotee of Sai Baba

“I already gave up the most difficult subjects of my life, the ones I liked the least. Now I have the right to be happy.”he told the newspaper Page 12 in 2000, about his return to music, which had begun the previous year with the Sai Ram album. The following year he released another album, this time with a repertoire of bossanova and jazz standards, and the gesture would mark her career from then on. His last album published by him is Esencia, from 2011, produced by his son, the guitarist Gaspar Benegas.

Taking stock when presenting his latest work, he acknowledged: “I haven’t had much media coverage with my independent albums, but this time, and instead of trying to please the market, I wanted to do something that fully represented me.” And while for much of his last time he divided his life between El Bolsón and Buenos Aires, Cantilo celebrated escaping the labels but still considered himself as part of rock.

Maria Jose Cantilo-The Hurricane

“I made my last albums with Gaspar and with Baltasar (Comotto) and they were super rockers, but although Esencia is about ballads, I don’t want to get out of there. I like to make music to move people and that has to do with a rock thing that I feel part of”, considered the artist when 12 years ago she was the protagonist of her latest release on the music market. Throughout her life she was decanting her fascinating earthly and carnal passion for spiritual harmony, but she never gave up her blood to what she considered “a beautiful double game”.


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