‘Israeli Springsteen’ David Broza builds cultural bridges through music
When last we spoke with Israeli-born songwriter and guitarist David Broza, in December 2015, he was navigating myriad logistical challenges in preparation for a project with youthful Palestian artist Ali Paris, who plays a zither-like instrument called the qanun. Next Thursday, Paris will head up the band backing Broza for his return to The Broad Stage with his “Not Exactly Xmas Show.”
As before, Broza’s songs of peace fit the seasonal holiday spirit of December, despite political strife. Sometimes described as an Israeli Bruce Springsteen, the trilingual entertainer similarly combines earthy, open-hearted charisma with savvy stagecraft.
Musically, Broza’s mix of Spanish flamenco, Western rock and Middle Eastern rhythms and instrumentation reflects not only his experiences growing up in Israel, Spain and England, but also his four-decade mission to celebrate common humanity by building bridges between cultures with music — a mission chronicled in “East Jerusalem/West Jerusalem,” a documentary filmed in Israel and Palestine in 2013 with a crew of Israeli and Palestinian artists and Steve Earle, who co-produced the soundtrack.
Now a UNICEF goodwill ambassador, Broza is still promoting his recent best-of collection “The Set List,” and will likely perform his anti-revenge single “The Juggler,” co-written with poet Tzruya Lahav, at Thursday’s concert. More appropriately for the occasion, the program will likely also include his earnest rendition of Elvis Costello’s “What’s So Funny ’Bout Peace, Love and Understanding” and the hit that effectively launched and defined his career: 1977’s “Yihye Tov (Things Will Get Better).” Forty years later, the song conveys a defiant message of hope that’s still urgently needed.
— Bliss Bowen
David Broza & Friends’ “Not Exactly Xmas Show” is at 7:30 p.m. Thursday (Dec. 21) at The Broad Stage, 1310 11th St., Santa Monica. Tickets are $65 to $115. Call (310) 434-3200 or visit davidbroza.net.