Israeli singer/songwriter David Broza is considered one of the world’s most dynamic and vibrant performers. From his whirlwind finger picking to flamenco percussion and rhythms, to a signature rock and roll sound, his charismatic and energetic performances have delighted audiences throughout the world. Broza recently told the AJP that he fell in love with the poetry of Arizona’s first state poet laureate Alberto Álvaro Ríos 25 years ago. Songs inspired by this poetry will be part of his homage to Ríos when he returns to the Fox Tucson Theatre stage in Tucson, Saturday, Dec. 21.
“This is the third time David Broza has been in Tucson to perform,” says Weintraub Israel Center Director Inbal Shtivi. “Our people do feel like he’s part of our family.”
“I love Tucson. The first time I came there I felt the closest I could feel to the desert and colors we have in southern Israel,” Broza says. “Even the air. It’s very much like we have. My body reacted to it right away.”
Broza has 25 number one hits in Israel, where he is a beloved national treasure. His unique blend of Israeli- and Spanish-infused guitar songs will be backed in Tucson by the Afro-Cuban beats of the New York-based “Trio Havana,” led by flute virtuoso Itai Kris. “This is a new show with a Spanish flamenco singer and dancer and a Latino-Israeli flute player. I’ve always listened to Cuban music and I always like experimenting. This is a fresh trial for me to hear my music dressed up in Afro-Cuban rhythms. You’ll want to dance to it,” Broza promises. Even his famous Hebrew songs will feel Cuban. “For Tucson, I will pick the most fun songs and mix them predominantly with Spanish,” he adds.
More than a singer/songwriter, Broza also is known for his dedication to several humanitarian causes, especially the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Since 1977, when his hit song “Yihye Tov” first hit the airwaves, he has been working to promote a message of peace. The song’s lyrics, roughly translated as “Things Will Be Better,” struck at the heart of the issue — that people all over the world want peace.
Broza has yet another connection to Southern Arizona. Roadrunner Elementary School in Marana uses 24 special guitars from Broza’s One Million Guitars foundation, which aims to train disadvantaged young musicians in school music programs. The school’s music director, Erica Nagode, says the kids call them the “heart guitars” because of the unique heart-shaped hole in the soundbox. “It’s been great,” says Nagode about incorporating the donated guitars into her music program. It has allowed her to use the instruments in her music programs school-wide, for about 380 children. After-school performing music programs also have access to the instruments, which were introduced in 2018 through the Kids Rock Program.
Broza is recording his first instrumental album in Spain, for release in spring 2020. “It is challenging to play like a guitarist,” he says since he usually sings and plays. A documentary about Spanish guitar will accompany the album release. “My last international album, “East Jerusalem West Jerusalem,” also included a documentary that exposes my work using music as a bridge-builder. To get Palestinians and Israelis to know each other through music. It’s something I’ve been doing for over 40 years and will continue doing forever.”
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. He also has been named a Good Will Ambassador for U.N.I.C.E.F.
The performance is sponsored by the Weintraub Israel Center, the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona, and the Tucson Jewish Community Center, with additional support from community members Liz Kanter-Groskind and Eric Groskind.
Tickets are available at the Fox Tucson Theatre box office, 17 W. Congress or online at www.foxtucson.com. Enter code JFSA10 for a 10% discount. The performance begins at 7:30 p.m.