How Baden Powell Got His Name

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Baden Powell (1937-2000) was an amazing and very influential guitar player from Brazil. I have featured his music on my shows for many years, and enjoyed it long before that, beginning with an MPS LP Apaixonado from Germany in the 1960s. I even have a picture of him on my wall, a more formal portrait where his hands and fingers look like something out of an  El Greco painting. His guitar playing, both on albums and in live performance, was amazing. And I never had an opportunity to see him, even though we were both living in France at the same time. He even once lived in Baden-Baden, Germany.

Baden (pronounced “Bah-den”) Powell is not to be confused with the English founder of the Boy Scouts, Lord Robert Baden-Powell from the UK. People sometimes used to call me at the station to correct my pronunciation, saying the correct pronunciation was “Bay-den”. It always annoyed me. The only connection, and the reason why the Brazilian artist got his name, was that his father was a big booster of scouting who admired the founder of the international organization.

Baden Powell left Brazil in the 1960s for Europe. Either because there were more opportunities elsewhere or perhaps because of the oppressive military regime that was running the country and forcing musicians like Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso into exile. Perhaps a bit of both. He was not to return to Brazil until the late 1980s.

Here is a clip of Powell playing live from 1970s.

And another clip from the same period, and his unique way of smoking a cigarette while playing.