EMU Jewish Department hosts singer, David Broza

David Broza (left) with Professor Martin Shichtman (right).

As a part of the Department of Jewish studies Speaker Series, Eastern Michigan University welcomed Israeli singer/songwriter and peace activist, David Broza for a film screening and conversation about his recent documentary, “East Jerusalem/West Jerusalem,” Saturday evening in the Student Center auditorium.

EMU’s Jewish Department was given an impact grant from the Jewish Federation of Greater Ann Arbor to be able to host the singer.

Martin Shichtman, professor of English and the director of EMU Jewish Studies described the opportunity as a blessing.

“I believe poetry makes a difference; that art and music can make a difference,” said Shichtman.

Around 70 people were in attendance to watch the screening. The audience consisted of EMU students, U of M students, the Ypsilanti community and the Ann Arbor community.

“East Jerusalem/ West Jerusalem” is a documentary about the creation of Broza’s album. An eight day-and-night experience, musicians from America, Israel and Palestine had come together to record an album in East Jerusalem in the studio of Sabreen, a legendary Palestinian band, to build a bridge between the people of Israel and Palestine.

The film consisted of musical participants, American Grammy award winner and activist Steve Earle, Grammy award winner Wyclef Jean of the Fugees, renowned Israeli Palestinian singer, Mira Awad, Palestinian hip hop artist from the Shuafat refugee camp, Muhammad Mughrabi with many more.

The film was visually stunning, as the camera took the audience around Jerusalem. It captured the lives of the people who lived there and the musicians at work creating the album. The audience was engaged as they laughed and clapped to the musical documentary, which featured all thirteen songs from the album and the stories and dialogue shared between the musicians.

The music in the film was fused with Arabic, Hebrew and English so everyone could understand, as well as different instruments and styles such as rock ‘n’ roll, folk and hip-hop. The songs were beautiful and captivated the conflict in Jerusalem, showing how it affected Broza and the accompanying musicians.

“When we find a common language, music is one,” Broza said at the end of the documentary.

At the end of the screening, Broza was presented with an EMU Jewish Department sweatshirt as a gift. There was an open conversation by the audience about the film, such as the situation in the Shuafat refugee camp shown in the film. Broza then followed the discussion by playing a couple of songs from the film.

With his magical guitar playing and “whirlwind” finger picking, the musician put on an impressive performance. His voice was moving as he shared the universal language of music with the audience.

There was a CD signing for his album, “East Jerusalem/West Jerusalem,” and a light reception after the event.

For more information about Broza and his music, visit his website at http://www.davidbroza.net/en/.

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