David Broza is set to perform on Sat., January 7th at Town Hall in New York City. The concert will coincide the Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP) conference. David will bring together an acclaimed roster of guests and friends, including singer-songwriter Shawn Colvin, jazz saxophonist Jay Beckenstein, and Palestinian qanun virtuoso Ali Paris. Other musicians include guitarist and composer Alon Albagli, drummer Yuval Lion, bassist Uri Kleinman, and jazz vocalist Tammy Scheffer.
Raised in Israel, Spain and England, Broza has been giving his charismatic and energetic performances worldwide since 1977, when his hit song “Yihye Tov” first hit the airwaves, promoting a message of peace. Broza is also known for his commitment and dedication to several humanitarian projects, especially a resolution to
Israeli-Palestinian conflict through dialog, culture, music and tolerance. Now, with a series of multi-platinum albums—in Hebrew, English and Spanish—he continues to deliver his message. Broza was awarded a Spanish medal of honor by the King of Spain, Juan Carlos I, for his longtime contribution to Israel-Spain relations and his promotion of tolerance. A passionate peace advocate, he has also been named a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.
Broza received widespread acclaim for his 2013 album East Jerusalem West Jerusalem, produced by American musician Steve Earle and Steve Greenberg, and recorded in its entirety in the Palestinian Sabreen Studio in East Jerusalem. The work, featuring a band of both Israeli and Palestinian musicians, resulted in a beautiful, intimate documentary of the same name.
Throughout 2015, Broza worked on another studio recording with the Andalusian Orchestra of Ashkelon and musical director/conductor Tom Cohen. The album, Andalucian Love Song, includes re-imaginations of some of Broza’s greatest hits, as well as some of the greatest works of renowned Arab composers including Abed Al Wahab, among others.
The film East Jerusalem West Jerusalem is a documentary about the 8 day creative experience envisioned by celebrated Israeli singer-songwriter David Broza in East Jerusalem.
In early 2013, David Broza fulfilled his dream to record songs in the Palestinian side of Jerusalem with musicians from Palestine and Israel. The8-day sessions took place in the studio of Palestinian band Sabreen. The idea was to create a space for peace and to listen to each other with the hope that this will have a ripple effect.
Broza invited award-winning American singer-songwriter and activist Steve Earle as producer. Even though Steve Earle wrote a song called “Jerusalem” in the 1990s, he had never visited Jerusalem before.
Other guests included Israeli Palestinian singer, actress and activist Mira Awad; Palestinian cinematographer Issa Freij; Muhammad Mughrabi, Palestinian hip hop artist from the Shuaafat refugee camp; Israeli musicians Jean Paul Zimbris, Alon Nadel and Gadi Seri, along with other American, Israeli and Palestinian participants.
At the beginning of the film, David Broza sets the context for the project, showing the two sides of Jerusalem, and fascinating interviews. Broza sits on a rooftop with Issa Freij where they discuss their different experiences. Broza greets Steve Earle at the airport and later talks, jams and rehearses with him. There is also an interview with American record producer David Greenberg and several segments with Broza himself.
Some of the most noteworthy footage includes the shots of the musicians (and the filmmaker) rehearsing and having fun in the studio as they prepare for the recording sessions.
Broza chose to record in English, as a universal language, and the two local languages, Hebrew and Arabic. Although I don’t have the album, it is evident that that album has a mix of American folk music influences along with the Middle Eastern nuances of the ud, darbuka and kanun. Broza also adds a little flamenco spice that he picked up in Spain.
The film follows David Broza as he takes a night drive to the impoverished Shuafat refugee camp, the home of the two Palestinian rappers who collaborate on the album. It’s surprising that despite all the security measures nearby, the camp itself is pretty much on its own, without police or emergency services.
There are additional interviews with the Israeli and Palestinians where they describe their experiences. Many of them had never visited each others neighborhoods.
Broza also brought the new generations into the project, recording the voices of young singers representing the various communities.
Sadly, near the end of the film, Broza and Freij encounter a demonstration of Israelis who trade insults with the Palestinians, demonstrating that it’s hard to get away from politics and there is much more work to do.
David Broza grew up in Israel, Spain, and England. His musical influences range from flamenco to rock and Americana. He is also recognized for his commitment and dedication to several humanitarian causes, mostly, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Since 1977, Broza has released over 30 albums in Hebrew, English and Spanish, many of which have become gold and platinum albums.
In the year 2006 David Broza received the “In Search for Common Ground” award along with Palestinian musician/composer Said Murad, and in 2009 the Spanish King, Juan Carlos I, decorated him with the Spanish Royal Medal of Honor for his longtime contribution to Israel-Spain relations, and his dedication to promotion of tolerance and conflict resolution.