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Jewish Journal

The Soundtrack for Life and Love

by Orit Arfa

May 21, 1998 | 8:00 pm

That fact alone could explain David Broza's swiftrise to the top of Israeli pop charts in the 1970s and '80s, whenBroza could not walk in the street without being mobbed by swooningfans.

But Broza is also a richly talented singer/songwriter. If his looks are Baldwin-esque, his music compares easilyto Paul Simon. Broza has dazzled Israeli audiences with his uniquesound, which combines flamenco, blues and Middle Eastern soul, poeticlyrics and sensual guitar playing. One in three Israeli families ownat least one David Broza recording; for two generations of Israelis,Broza provided the soundtrack for life and love.

But Broza himself was never motivated by money orfame. Born in Israel and educated in Spain and England, he planned toattend Rhode Island School of Design to become a graphic artist. Butafter he returned to Israel in 1974 to serve in the army, hedeveloped another way to express his creativity -- music. At age 22,with a trail of successful café performances and homemaderecordings behind him, Broza signed his first record deal in Israel.Since then, he has produced 10 Israeli albums, many of which havegone gold, platinum and multi-platinum. His most famous, "The WomanBy My Side," catapulted Broza to the ranks of superstardom.

Broza was ready for another change, and in 1984 heventured with his family to new territory -- the U.S. "I wanted tocheck it out, to get a feel for the music here, to get closer to thesource of folk-rock," he said in a telephone interview with TheJournal.

Moving to New Jersey in the midst of hispopularity and fame in Israel may have been just as dramatic a moveas switching artistic mediums. Broza had to adapt to a new musicalstyle, language, and culture. In Israel, Broza had set his music tothe words of Spanish ballads and contemporary Israeli poets,including Yonatan Geffen. Broza eventually found his U.S. niche bysetting his tunes to the English words of American poets.

With creativity, hard work and patience, Broza hassucceeded in gaining a following among American audiences and praisefrom critics. He has produced five albums on American labels. HisAmerican releases, "Away from Home," "Times of Trains," and "SecondStreet," have made him a respected and sought-after musician in theU.S. But what adds to Broza's appeal are his mesmerizingperformances, which are gripped with emotion and impassionedguitar-playing.

Broza currently lives with his wife/manager Ruthand their three children in New Jersey, but he travels back and forthbetween the U.S. and Israel, performing in front of audiences, bothnew and old. Broza will make his Royce Hall debut on Thursday, May 28at 8 p.m. The concert, presented by UCLA Center for the PerformingArts and sponsored by My Jewish Discovery Place Children's Museum ofthe Jewish Community Centers of Greater Los Angeles, UCLA Hillel andPackard Bell, is in honor of Israel's 50th Anniversary.

What does Israel's 50th mean to Broza?

"Looks like we're here--big time."

For tickets to Broza's concert, callTicketmaster at (310) 825-2101 or (213) 365-3500.

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