Marcel Powell - APERTO DE MÃO
The Brazilian guitar tradition has a powerful newcomer. However, in spite of his tender 24 years (Louis) Marcel Powell, son of the great Baden Powell, born in Paris, isn’t exactly new in the business. With his father he recorded twice: “Baden Powell and sons” when he was only 15 and “Afro-Brazilian Suite” together with his brother, the pianist Phillipe Baden. His first album “Samba Novo” was only released in Japan. “Aperto de Mão” would be his fourth record, but is the first one he really identifies himself with.
The repertoire was chosen together with his mentor and producer João de Aquino, another great guitarist, Baden’s cousin, and very intimate with Baden’s works. “João more or less replaced my father in a more informal way” says Marcel. The track that is title to the album reflects admirations of the young Master. One of the authors is Jaime Florence Meira, teacher of his father, and another is the mythological seven string guitarist Horondino Silva better known as “Dino”. That song gained new vigor in Marcel’s hands. “I like to play many scales and I have a quick attack which is the main difference with my father’s style” defines Marcel.
It was during his stay in Germany that Marcel decided for a musical career.
“My father didn’t like the idea of my brother and I becoming musicians, but Phillipe won a guitar and at 5 I was having violin classes with a German teacher. I read music and played classics, but ended up being fascinated by the guitar. I took my brother’s instrument and began to practice. When I felt I was playing something we called my father, Phillipe already at the piano, and we did “Yesterday” by the Beatles. Dad came and corrected my position in the chords but said he didn’t have the patience to be my teacher. However when he realized how strong was my interest he promised to get involved in a strong manner. And from when I was 9 till 18, when he died, we had classes everyday from 9 to lunch time. I became a slave of the guitar”.
Listening to “Preludio das Diminutas” it is possible to evaluate the father’s strong influence. They composed together this homage to Villa-Lobos when Marcel was only 11. “Dad did most of it, I only brought in a couple of things” says a modest Marcel. Other tracks in the record reflect his deep regard for the authors, as for Marcel, composition is the most important part of all. So the choice for songs by João Bosco, Ivan Lins, Johnny Alf, Noel Rosa and João de Aquino is no coincidence.
“I think the most rewarding thing for a composer is to listen to his music played or whistled in the streets. I will only consider myself an author when that happens, when somebody says after listening to a tune –this is by Marcel Powell”
So the timeless character of the music was also a consideration in the choice of repertoire for the record. “Ultimo Desejo” bi Noel Rosa is from 1937. ‘Rapaz de Bem” by Johnny Alf is from 1953 and the frevo “Evocação Nº 1” by Nelson Ferreira was a success in the carnival of 1957. But all that fidelity to Brazilian culture does not prevent Marcel from admiring other types of music which is the case of “Round’bout Midnight” by pianist Thelonious Monk, a very
personal interpretation featured in the album. “Music has to provoke emotion to me. When I heard that song played by my father in a radio program in France, I began to cry” affirms Marcel.
Marcel’s album has a duplicity between intensity and a sense of urgency. “Ideally the musician has to pass his message during the time he has on stage or at the studio. He has to transmit the beauty of music, the feeling and also his ability with the instrument”
No doubt Marcel Powell’s album “Aperto de Mão has those three ingredients and confirms him as a new young Master of Brazilian guitar.
Translation by Roberto Carvalho from a text by Tarik de Souza