Conversation with David Broza

February 20, 2012 by Henry Benjamin
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Israeli music icon David Broza is scheduled for concerts in Sydney and Melbourne next month. J-Wire spoke to him at his home in Tel Aviv.

David Broza pic: Raanan Cohen

J-Wire:  How many times have you visited Australia?

David Broza: This will be my third visit. I’m going to make sure I come more often but I am looking forward especially to this one. It’s been five years since I was in Australia.

JW:   When did you start performing and how did it happen?

DB:   Being a musician was not something I had been dreaming to be. I was painting in the field of visual arts when I was very young…but I always played the guitar. When I was 22 years old I received an offer to be a sideman on a show by an Israeli poet called Jonathan Geffen. Two weeks later he asked me to write a song and it became a hit on Israeli radio and that was the beginning of my career.

JW: Was this directly after your service in the IDF?

DB: When I was 22 I just finished the army and I was wondering what I was going to do.

JW: What is the highlight of your career?

DB: It’s been a long career. It is very difficult to pick a highlight. One of my most successful albums was Haisha Sheiti which I recorded  in 1983 which is still selling today. Nothing is stopping it. It must be a highlight. It’s the highest-selling album in Israel ever. That’s quite remarkable But I need another highlight. My upcoming Australia tour I hope will provide one.

JW:  We saw you perform in the Playing for Change clip. What did it mean to you to get involved with this amazing organisation which uses street musicians sprinkled with international starts to record the same track across the world and digitally create it into one…with proceeds going to establish music schools in underdeveloped countries?

DB:   I get all sorts of calls for benefits and this particular one benefited third world countries. It was referred to me by Jackson Browne, the American singer. They knocked on my door. I had forgotten about it completely. They walked in with their cameras and asked me to play some guitar that would work on a Bob Marley song “No More War- No More Trouble”. I didn’t sing…just played. The rest is history.  [Watch the clip here]

JW: Last August the TV cameras showed the world what is now known as the Tel Aviv Spring when young Israelis took to the streets to protest about the rising costs in Israel. Did you take any part?

DB: Of course. I was happy to see the young generation stand up and create a statement for themselves. It very much reminded me of my younger years when we were protesting for different causes…and I still do. I created a song that would be the song for that particular movement that was taking place so along with my friend Jonathan Geffen . We rewrote the lyrics of my first song Yiyeh Tov.  I walked around the camps playing it.

JW: You have been involved working with Palestinian musicians and children’s choirs. Is that an ongoing project for you?

DB: Very much so. I work in East Jerusalem with a Palestinian band called Sabrine and we maintain a very close relationship…and that is another highlight of my career especially when we released one particular song in Hebrew and Arabic which was played by Arab stations all across the Middle East from Qatar to Gaza.

JW: Do you have hope for peace in the region?

DB: Of course. Are you kidding? If there was no hope I would pack and leave. There will be a point when hostility will be turned into friendship on both sides and they will start building trust. I have been working towards this for the past twelve years constantly through music to get the hostilities and paranoia to subside and turn into amicable relationships.

I am very lucky I have music as a tool to try and achieve this. I am afraid politically there are so many powers within politics pulling and tugging in their own directions it sometimes seems hopeless. But amongst the people where I work there is absolute readiness.

JW:You have been compared to Bruce Springsteen. How does that sit with you?

DB: It’s funny I don’t remember who said it. It’s like explaining to your neighbour what chicken soup tastes like. It’s a way of marketing and enticing an audience so that people would listen to an Israeli artist. I take it as a colm[pliment

David Broza will be appearing Melbourne on March 6 and Sydney on March 12

Tickets can be booked at

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