David Broza Live at London’s Union Chapel 27th April 2017
DAVID BROZA enjoys an unequalled position on the Israeli music scene. He is their superstar. An award winning singer/composer and global musical ambassador.
Over forty years in the business David has appropriated an eye-popping array of musical admirers including Shawn Colvin, Jackson Browne, Townes Van Zandt and country-rocker Steve Earle and Haitian rapper Wyclef Jean who both worked with him on his “East Jerusalem West Jerusalem” project.
David Broza is not an acquired taste. He’s an immediate joy. Totally captivating, completely immersive.
We instantly connected with his vibrations when we saw him play live in London this week.
There is something in his smile, his trouble-free style, his undoubted mastery. It seems as if you’ve known him your whole life.
We saw the superstar Israeli singer/songwriter in concert at the famous charitable, non-conformist congregational Union Chapel in Islington.
The space was decorated with tea lights sat on ledges in each alcove. These provided a shimmer to the Victorian red brick splendour. David went on stage alone, with a battered guitar. He looked like a worker in a smoke-filled oven, his face transfigured by blazing glow.
First of all, David is a masterful guitarist. His flamenco play is so human, so vital. His technique is so passionate that we watched as his instrument became a living part of his expressive being.
We fell for the allure at once, we fell for his amazing charm too… and the way his notes flickered out across space with such supreme dexterity. In fact, we become part of an emotional movement — an assembly of musical tones — a meeting of molecules in the night air.
His finger-picking surpassed all expectations and reminded us why his instrument is known as an acoustic guitar. It’s not just the strings that provide magnificent resonation — it’s the whole box. He plucked, scraped, picked and slapped. He played close to his chest, then spread the wood-tone as far as it would extend. Then he wobbled the sound-hole and convulsed the bridge… all the time creating flicks, balanced rolls, taps, claps and rumbles. He released a wonderful set of rhythmic sliding patterns. Then shook each note as if it were his last.
“I’ve been looking forwards to playing London for some time…” he tells the adoring crowd.
“I’ll play songs from across my career…” He gives us his love-songs from the latest greatest hits album, “The Set List”
These are most often poems set to music, guttural Andalusian coplas, they move from synagogic chants to cante flamenco in a jiff.
They even spread out into fusions of tropical samba and jazz without us hardly noticing. After three solo songs, David presents his band, one by one. The Tel Aviv drummer first — because David is a percussion man at heart.
A bolero-style beat is supported by the gentle patting of skins. Then the bassist, and another guitarist arrive. And finally, after a few songs, Salit Lahav on flute. She adds an intoxicating freshness of sound to locomotive songs like “It’s All or Nothing.”
Hebrew speakers in the audience become charmed by the lines of poetry. They sway and applaud cheerfully. But those in the audience who are less familiar with the language are still lost in the mood — because each nuanced song transcends everyday language and reaches into the soul.
Finally indie-artist Muhammad Jabid Mughrabi comes for “East Jerusalem / West Jerusalem” and surprise guest singer Mira Awad joins David for the finale.
This concert was confessional, comforting and effective. A delight for the senses.
And David’s easy going ability proved that you do not need to be shouty or irritable to write a protest song. In fact, you do not need to remonstrate at all — you just need to grow love in your heart.
Words & Images: @neilmach 2017 ©