David Broza’s Fave Singer-Songwriters


For someone who grew up in a musical household in Haifa where famous names like Harry Belafonte, Pete Seeger and Odetta came by to see his folk singer mom, David Broza was a reluctant bard when his first hit, 1977’s “Yihye Tov,” was the first step towards him becoming a critically acclaimed global talent.

David Broza (second from left) with Trio Havana
(Photo courtesy of Worldisc)

Along the way, the Israeli singer-songwriter shared stages with the likes of Bob Dylan, Sting and Van Morrison and become a respected peace activist who was appointed a UNICEF goodwill ambassador thanks to his work on projects like the album/documentary East Jerusalem/West Jerusalem. Broza’s describes the Steve Earle-produced 2014 project as “…Israelis and Palestinians coming together under one roof [in an East Jerusalem studio] for eight days and eight nights to play music and create camaraderie through food and spending time together.”

The sexuagenarian’s creative approach melds his love of poetry (“Some people read The Bible and I read poetry.”) to a compositional style reflecting his having been raised in Israel, Spain and England. It’s found him transitioning from concentrated success exclusively singing in Hebrew up through 1989’s Away from Home, his first record sung in English, to more recent work that’s found him exploring his love of music. Most recently it manifested itself via 2020’s flamenco-inspired En Casa Limón, his first all-instrumental outing, to his recent touring with Trio Havana, a threesome of musicians he originally met when he hired them to play his wife’s surprise 60th birthday party.

“They are just random artists who have been playing Cuban music all their lives and are now living in the United States,” Broza explained. “Each one of them is a specialist in their own instrument. The bass player plays in a Cuban way, which is a completely different approach to the instrument. Then you have the tres, a three-stringed guitar which is the basis of the Cuban sound. Then the percussionist plays three types of percussion and he’s just brilliant. It’s all very delicate and beautiful.”

Given the strong social consciousness that centers Broza’s moral compass, one of his passions is One Million Guitars, a long-running nonprofit he founded that manufactures guitars and places them in two-year musical programs for fourth- and fifth-graders. At the end of the program, the students get to keep their guitars.
“I’ve basically got access to a number of schools in 43 states throughout America,” he said. “[One Million Guitars] started in Israel, where we were covering the Jewish and the Arab schools. It’s something that keeps me really busy all the time and it’s a foundation where I have to raise money to make the guitars and train teachers. It’s a point where I see it happening and it is bliss.”

As someone whose tastes transitioned from the bebop of John Coltrane and Miles Davis to the early ‘70s folk-rock movement, Broza had plenty to say about his favorite singer-songwriters.

Joni Mitchell
(Public domain)

Joni Mitchell (November 7, 1943 to present)
“Her poetry drives me wild and her musicality is insane. She’s got the combination of that open tuning and the way she carries the melodies—it’s so unique that she’s playing an instrument when she sings and is telling a story. To me, it’s beyond musical because of the poetry. It’s just magic. It’s hard to translate with words. I’d been listening to John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Cannonball Adderley and all those bebop musicians from the ‘50s for years before I got into singer-songwriters. But suddenly, Joni and her body of work were unreal. She is just an absolute poet.”



Paul Simon
(Photo courtesy of Nationaal Archief/CC0 1.0)




Paul Simon (October 13, 1941 to present)
“I love Paul Simon’s way of telling stories and mixing everything along with the way he’s evolved over the years. Paul Simon is very calculated in telling stories that he’s lived or has read about in his experiences.”




Bob Dylan
(Photo courtesy of Jean-Luc Ourlin/CC BY-SA 2.0)

Bob Dylan (May 24, 1941 to present)
“With Dylan, it’s obvious. He is a storyteller above and beyond everybody else. He just doesn’t tell stories from his point of view. He tells stories of situations of people as if he’s reporting it to you like a troubadour. Dylan is the town crier. He’s the guy from medieval days that you followed and is calling out the message or story of the week and carrying it from town to town. That’s fascinating. The body of work is so big, that it’s really hard to get through it. Dylan’s poetry keeps coming up every time. It’s so evident. Even when I taught creative writing in Bennington College, the poets used to recite Dylan. It was such a beautiful thing.”



Joan Manuel Serrat
(Photo courtesy of 20 Minutos/CC BY-SA 3.0)


Joan Manuel Serrat (December 27, 1943 to present)
“He is probably the greatest singer-songwriter that has lived in Spain. He is from Barcelona and is the ultimate singer-songwriter. He’s amazing.”



Shalom Hanoch
(Photo courtesy of Morshem/CC BY-SA 4.0)


Shalom Hanoch (September 1, 1946 to present)
Meir Ariel (March 2, 1942 to July 18, 1999)
“These two are the gods of all lyrics because they sing and speak in my language—my mother tongue. They are above and beyond everyone that I mentioned before. Although everything before has affected my listening. But they have delivered to me the connection between global greatness, from a very small point of view, which is being an Israeli and being from Israel and the language. To me, that is the epitome of who I love and I could listen to that all day long.”


                        Top Israeli Acts

Meir Ariel
(Photo courtesy of Yotami 1996/CC BY-SA 4.0)Top Israeli Music Acts

Beyond David Broza’s beloved Shalom Hanoch and Meir Ariel, these are some of Israel’s top musical acts.

Arik Einstein
Aviv Geffen
Ehud Manor
Ofra Haza
Idan Raichel
Shlomo Artzi
Ninet Tayeb
Yehudit Ravitz
Monica Sex
Berry Sakharof
Chaim Witz (aka Gene Simmons)
Matt Caspi

—Dave Gil de Rubio

David Broza and Trio Havana will be playing on February 26 at Landmark on Main Street, 223 Main St., Port Washington. For more information, visit www.landmarkonmainstreet.org or call 516-767-6444. Visit www.onemillionguitars.org to find out more about One Million Guitars.


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