María Gabriela Epumer was born on August 1, 1963 in the Villa Devoto neighborhood. She was the great-granddaughter of a Mapuche Epumer chief. She is the daughter of Dora Carvallo and Juan Carlos Epumer, she and the youngest of three siblings, Lito and Claudia.
María Gabriela came from a purely musical family. Her grandfather, Juan Epumer, was the guitarist of the tango singer Agustín Magaldi. Her brother, Lito Epumer, was a member of Spinetta's last formation “Jade” and then the new one of “Madre Atomica”. And her aunt, Dora's younger sister, was none other than Celeste Carballo, from whom she took the initiative and the necessary strength to dare to star in her own story in music.
Since she was little, María Gabriela showed her musical aptitudes that she had inherited from her. She took piano and classical dance courses. She went through the schools of Olga Ferri and Clotilde Freire. She then studied the contemporary dance techniques of Fredi Romero and Ana Itelman.
When she was ten years old she began studying guitar with Jorge Stirikas, a teacher and composer at the Teatro Colón.
She started accompanying her brother to go out to the Jazz & Pop bar, located at Chacabuco 508 in the San Telmo neighborhood.
She began her professional career at the age of 16 when she joined María Rosa Yorio's band, with her she recorded the album “Con los ojos closed” and played in live shows.
In 1982 she formed the group “Rouge”, which was the first Argentine rock band made up only of women. They dedicated themselves to making covers in English from the 60s. María Gabriela Epumer participated playing guitar and Andrea Álvarez played percussion. After the departure of the bassist, María Gabriela proposes her friend, Claudia Sinesi, to replace her. Claudita (as they would later call her in Viudas) played bass and, like María Gabriela, composed, but the band did not want to abandon the line of covers. Then they continue singing in English.
But in 1982, Argentina went to war with England over the Falkland Islands, and this motivated the ban on all music in English and its dissemination. Rouge cannot continue with the covers and part of the band is not interested in producing their own songs.
One initiative was to produce the song “El Dueño del Cielo Azul” by Claudita for the album “Mi Voz Renacerá” (1983) by Celeste Carballo, where they also performed the choirs.
Finally, Rouge dissolves and finds María Gabriela and Claudita with a pile of their own songs, a great desire to continue playing and a keyboardist who did not make her debut because the band was already dissolved, she would be the 3rd Widow, Claudia Ruffinatti.
“Viuda e Hijas de Roque Enroll” was a band that became a milestone in the history of Argentine rock. The basis was a strong aesthetic conception clearly expressed in his lyrics, his music and his image. This formally became the first Argentine rock band made up of women with enormous success. María Gabriela played the guitar, composed and sang along with Mavy Díaz, Claudia Sinesi played the bass, Claudia Rufinatti the keyboards and Andrea Alvarez the drums. Between 1983 and 1988 they recorded the albums “Viuda e hijas de Roque Enroll”, “Ciudad Catrúnica”, which sold 200,000 copies, and “Vale 4”.
Simultaneously, María Gabriela was a musician invited by Fito Páez for the album “Corazón Clandestino” and by María Rosa Yorio, who invited her to record one of her songs on the album “Puertos”.
In 1988 “Viuda e Hijas de Roque Enroll” dissolved and a year later, in 1989, together with Claudia Sinesi, he put together “Maleta de Loca”. When they were ready to go out, Argentina found itself, technologically, with a market that was undecided between Vinyl or CD. They opted for Vinyl, a material that would soon cease to be used, and recorded the album that would bear the same name as the band.
At the same time, he also accompanied the duo formed by Celeste Carballo and Sandra Mihanovich with Maleta. They produced the song “Amelia por los Caminos”, by Celeste, for the album “Mujer Contra Mujer” (1990) that she recorded with Sandra, where María Gabriela and Claudia are part of the band that accompanies them on guitars and bass, respectively.
Around 1992, María Gabriela Epumer made an outstanding live performance as a guitarist, when she accompanied Luis Alberto Spinetta in the presentation of the album “Pelusón of milk”. And in those days she joined Celeste Carballo's band with whom she recorded the albums “Celeste en Buenos Aires” and “Chocolate Inglés”.
In 1993, María Gabriela started playing hardcore with her cousin, Floppy Bernaudo, in a female band, with other members: Laura Casarino, belonging to the choirs of Los Twist where Floppy was also present, Laura Gómez Palma and Marcela Chediack. They formed the group “Las Chicas” playing as guests of Fito Páez, at the presentation of the album “El amor siempre del amor”, at the Vélez Sarsfield stadium, located at Av. Juan B. Justo 9200 in the Liniers neighborhood.
Between 1994 and 1995, he recorded with Charly García the albums “La hija de la lágrima”, “Cassandra Lange” and “Hello”, an unplugged show recorded in Miami for the MTV network, during a tour through Latin America and the United States.
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In 1995, he met guitarist Robert Fripp, and took a seminar with him that led to several presentations in Argentina, together with “Los gauchos Alemanas”.
When they finished the tour in Buenos Aires, Fripp himself took the stage to share the closing show.
Also that year, he teams up with Fernando Samalea, Charly's drummer, in a new project called “Montecarlo Jazz Ensamble.” There, more than fifty Argentine musicians of different styles recorded two volumes of an album with the same name, for the total benefit of the Argentine Aboriginal Community. Many of the songs recorded were played, sung and composed by María, producer of the project.
At the end of 1995, “Viuda e Hijas de Roque Enroll” met again to record a live album with their classic songs, called “Telón de Crep”.
That same year, María put together her band with Matías Mango on keyboards, Miguel Bassi on bass and Demián Cantilo on drums. He named it “A1”, and in 1996 they independently recorded “Señorita Corazón”, their first album, which featured the artistic production of Tweety González (formerly Soda Stereo) and as a guest musician was Eric Schermerhorn, guitarist of Tin Machine, Iggy Pop and The The.
In 1996, in parallel with A1, she also toured with Charly García through Porto Alegre, Brazil, Bogotá, Colombia, and New York where they played at the Lincoln Center, invited by Mercedes Sosa.
During 1997, with A1 she dedicated herself to spreading the album by playing in the city of Buenos Aires and in the interior of the country. The finale of that year was the “Buenos Aires Vivo III” concert, organized by the Ministry of Culture of the City of Buenos Aires, before about 30,000 people.
In 1998 she began recording “El Aguante”, by Charly García, in Miami, which was presented at the end of that same year at the Obras Stadium, located at Av. Del Libertador 7395 in the Nuñez neighborhood. Show that was repeated at the “Buenos Aires Vivo” Festival, on February 27, 1999, registering the highest peak of attendance of the three editions of this show (200,000 people).
During 1999, she worked on the pre-production of her second solo album, “Perfume”, which she recorded between September and November. At the same time, she performed with her band in different places in the country. One of her most notable shows was at the Luna Park Stadium, located at Av. Eduardo Madero 470 in the San Nicolás neighborhood, as support for Blur.
In May 2000, her CD “Perfume” was released by the DBN label, and she was accompanied by: Fernando Samalea, Christian Basso, Richard Coleman, Robert Fripp, Charly Garcia, Fito Páez, Claudia Sinesi and Francisco Bochatón, among others. In this album you can hear many songs written by her and some covers of historical songs such as: “Ah! I Saw You Between the Lights”, from The Bird Making Machine or “Song for the Days of Life” by Luis Alberto Spinetta. In addition, it includes the ballad “Desierto Corazón”, a guitar introduction by Robert Fripp in the song “ Quiero Estar Entre Tus Cosas”, and a version of the song by Daniel Melero with the collaboration of Charly García in the catchy “Otro Lugar” .
For the presentation tour, her band was made up of Chistian Basso (bass), Fernando Kabusacki (guitar) and Martín Millán (drums).
During 2000 she made presentations throughout the country, and also abroad (Los Angeles, New York, Porto Alegre, Paraguay, Uruguay and Chile). She also released “Señorita Corazón” and “Perfume” for an independent label in Tokyo, Japan.
In October of that same year, she released the album “Symphonies for Adolescents,” which marked the return of Sui Géneris after twenty-five years of their separation. María Gabriela was the guitarist for both the album and the presentation tour that included concerts in Buenos Aires, Chile, Peru and Uruguay. She also participated in the “Primavera Alternativa” Festival, on October 21 at the Buenos Aires Equestrian Club located at Av. Pres. Figueroa Alcorta 5100 in the Belgrano neighborhood, sharing the stage with Seann Lennon and Sonic Youth.
In January 2001, she played at the “Buenos Aires Hot Festival”, where R.E.M., Beck, Oasis and Neil Young also performed. In the same month, she performed at the “Argentina en vivo II” (Alternative) Festival, along with the main local bands. In June, “Si” was released, a double album that brings together recordings from the Sui Géneris tour.
During the month of July of that year, María Gabriela traveled to Madrid, invited by the Fundación Autor and the S.G.A.E. (General Society of Authors and Publishers), to participate with three shows at the “Fémina Rock” Festival and to present their album “Perfume”, which was released in Spain by the Subterfuge and Zona de Obras labels in a joint effort.
There she shared the stage with the main singers of Spain and Latin America such as Julieta Venegas from Mexico, Aterciopelados from Colombia and Amaral from Spain.
Back in Argentina he entered a studio to record “Pocket pop”, his third solo album, which was made in a simple mini CD format with two songs “Despacio” and “Día de amor”, plus an interactive track for the computer.
This EP had an original and striking packaging, designed on a can of shoe polish, which made the album become a nice object to treasure. “Pocket pop” was released in November 2001 by the DBN and Pop Art labels and distributed on the record store (Virgin Japon).
At the beginning of 2002, she presented “Pocket pop” in Buenos Aires, after several presentations throughout the country and a successful debut show in the city of Montevideo, Uruguay.
During this year he also recorded on the album “Influencia de Charly García” and accompanied him on the presentation tour through Latin America, throughout the country and in the different shows that Charly García offered in Buenos Aires.
Towards the end of 2002, she began recording her fourth solo album, “The Compilady”, a compilation of the artist's first three albums, independently, which includes new electronic versions of her songs, remixes, a new song, one in I live with Los Gauchos and the best videos of their career.
At the beginning of 2003, María Gabriela continued editing “The Compilady”, and during this year she dedicated herself to the presentation and dissemination of her new work, touring throughout the country.
On June 30 of that year and after cardiorespiratory arrest, she died unexpectedly at the French Hospital in Buenos Aires. She was 39 years old. The causes of her death are not clear, the doctors who treated her said that she arrived at the hospital with cardiorespiratory arrest and despite performing resuscitation tasks, her heart did not respond. Her death was classified as “doubtful.” According to what was learned, Epumer would have had respiratory problems in recent days, after arriving from a tour of the province of La Pampa and Mar del Plata.
The remains of María Gabriela Epumer were buried two days later in the Chacarita Cemetery and deposited in the Sadaic Pantheon.
In 2006 Sony-BMG released a compilation called “Homenaje a María Gabriela Epumer”.