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David Broza performs in Richmond Hill this weekend

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David Broza

If you have tickets to see David Broza in Richmond Hill, Ont. this weekend, you’re in luck since they’re sold out for the popular Israeli singer-songwriter’s only local appearance.

He’s in town for a solo show at the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts on January 25.

Broza has released some 28 albums, including his latest, The Golden Ring, made up of 13 songs he wrote based on the lyrics and poetry of Tzruya “Suki” Lahav, who’s written lyrics for many other prominent Israeli singers.

Broza is known for his charismatic and energetic performances. As a guitarist, he’s perfected a unique fusion of flamenco-flavoured rhythmic and percussive techniques and whirlwind fingerpicking.

He shot to stardom in Israel in 1977, with the release of “Yihye Tov” (“Things Will Get Better”), a song he wrote during the Arab-Israeli peace talks between Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin.

Israelis were in a euphoric state at the time, Broza recalled. “It was more fantastic than watching the first man land on the moon,” he said.

Forty-two years later, Broza is an optimist who believes peace will prevail in the Middle East. “If you ask any Israeli, whether they’re from the right or the left, we all want peace. The question is, are people willing to actually negotiate peace? Even though times seem to be dark, I always believe it’s part of the process. Like the (old bluegrass gospel) song says, the darkest hour is just before the dawn,” he said.

Broza is a peace activist who was mentored by another prominent Israeli peace activist, his grandfather Wellesley Aron, a co-founder of the Arab-Israeli peace village Neve Shalom. “He turned that place into reality and I dare say it’s probably the most important living and working environment on the issues of coexistence and tolerance and conflict resolution in the world,” Broza said.

He has no patience with the prominent intellectuals and entertainers who boycott Israel for political reasons. “To me, it’s the most cowardly way of dealing with something. You want to deal with something, you have something to say to Israeli people and Palestinian people, go to Israel, perform, use your stage to [convey] your message,” he said.

“No one will say anything. It might cause a few boos and some will say hurrah. To boycott, is that how people resolve a situation? I think you do it by dialogue.”

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