It’s safe to say that David Broza has a passion for Spanish culture. But while he has the music down, when it comes to the lifestyle’s culture, he can’t quite seem to get the hang of taking things slow and easy.
The 64-year-old Israeli singer-songwriter estimates he plays an average of 150 shows a year — and now he’s returning to Philadelphia.
Broza will perform at 8 p.m. on Nov. 17 at City Winery Philadelphia. The venue recently opened at Fashion District Philadelphia, the mall formerly known as The Gallery. He’ll be joined on stage by Israeli flutist Itai Kriss and Trio Havana, a Cuban music band based in New York.
Broza grew to stardom in 1977 with the release of his hit song “Yihye Tov.” The guitar player’s fame was cemented with the release of the quadruple- platinum album “Haisha Sheiti” in 1984.
Four decades later, with dozens of albums under his belt, he continues to pump out tracks in Hebrew, Spanish and English. In 2009, Broza was awarded a Spanish medal of honor for his longtime contributions to Israeli-Spanish relations and in 2012 was named a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for his peace advocacy.
One of Broza’s most notable projects in recent years was “East Jerusalem/West Jerusalem,” a 13-track album recorded with Israeli and Palestinian musicians over eight days in 2013. The goal was to create a statement promoting collaboration and coexistence. A documentary was produced to tell the story of the album’s creation. It is available for viewing on Netflix.
Broza developed a love for Spanish culture when his family moved to Spain when he was 12. Born in Haifa, Israel, his mother, Sharona Aron, was a popular folk singer in Israel in the ‘40s and ‘50s, and his father, Arthur Broza, was a British-born businessman and philanthropist. Broza’s maternal grandfather, Wellesley Aron, was former Israeli President Chaim Weizmann’s political secretary and co-founded the Zionist youth organization Habonim as well as founding the Israeli-Arab peace village Neve Shalom.
At 18, Broza returned home to complete his service in the Israel Defense Forces and began playing music professionally — the only thing he could ever imagine himself doing.
“It’s my life; I don‘t question myself on this. There’s nothing else I’m going to do. I’m not a lawyer. I’m not a doctor. I’m not a chef. I’m a musician, and I always have been. My biggest and greatest thrill is to perform for people and to perform my music,” Broza said. “I don’t have any plans of doing any other thing, and I’ll continue as long as I have places that will have me and will hear me.”
In 2018, Broza encountered Trio Havana, setting the stage for the upcoming show. The group is comprised of Manuel Alejandro Carro on percussion, Yuniel Jimenez on tres guitar and Jorge Bringas on bass. Kriss introduced Broza to the group at a private event in New York.
While Broza’s had several Cubans appear on previous albums, he’s never performed with a Cuban band before. So he approached the group about working together, and the next thing he knew they began rehearsing. Six months later Broza and Trio Havana began touring the United States.
“It just dawned on me that I’ve never really ventured into having my music turn into a Cuban vibe, a Cuban style,” Broza said. “And I found that there was just so much magic between my music and the Latino, not that I didn’t know it, but I was always more inclined to the Spanish and the flamenco, so this was a new experience.”
The group is joined on stage by Kriss and performs a set comprised of many of Broza’s past hits, but with a Cuban twist. Broza said the group adds energy to his music with fresh dynamics.
Broza said he aims to have concerts that are interesting to both the audience and himself. He wants to explore new aspects of his art and, to that end, Trio Havana has been a help.
“It’s got a new flavor, so I just want to play it for everybody,” Broza said. “I want everybody to hear it because it’s a great experience, and it rejuvenates the music and puts it in a new bracket. It’s really cool.”
After his concert here, Broza will perform next in Tel Aviv, playing songs from “Haisha Sheiti.” Other projects in the works include his first instrumental album, which he hopes to release next June.
So when it comes to taking it easy, it looks like Broza will continue to struggle.
[email protected]; 215-832-0751