CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Israeli singer-songwriter David Broza doesn't like walls.
For years, he's left the wealthy, relatively safe confines of West Jerusalem to make music in the eastern part of the city, at a small studio owned and operated by Palestinians.
He's recorded several albums there, including his latest, "East Jerusalem/West Jerusalem." Released this week, the record features American, Israeli and Palestinian musicians.
Broza will appear on West Virginia Public Radio's Mountain Stage at 7 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 19. Advance tickets are still available for $15 at www.mountainstage.org, 1-800-594-TIXX and at Taylor Books in downtown Charleston. Tickets also will be available for $25 at the door.
He said he wanted to record the album in East Jerusalem because people in the western part of the city have such little contact with those in the impoverished Palestinian section.
"I thought it was time to bring together Israeli musicians to East Jerusalem," he said. "It's time to introduce this to my buddies from Tel Aviv."
But there's a lot of political and cultural pressure to keep Israelis in the West and Palestinians in the East from co-mingling.
While album producer Steve Earle was eager to help out with the project, Broza had some difficulty convincing his fellow Israelis to join up.
He tried to convince them East Jerusalem was safe. He had been recording there for years without incident. But a month before recording was set to begin, Broza said it looked like none of the musicians were going to show up.
Broza had already booked the planes, hotel rooms, recording space and caterers. His record company had already invested money in the project.
"I literally felt like some hardened rock was forming in my stomach. I felt that angst. I really didn't feel happy," he said. "I'm only making music, I'm not coming with some political banner, I'm not calling war on politicians. I'm just calling my friends to come and play with me."
Things changed about two weeks later, however, when Broza invited some of the participants to a rehearsal dinner at the recording studio. He had assembled a team of Palestinian and Israeli chefs to prepare the meal, and as the food came to the table, Broza said he watched as everyone became instantly more relaxed.
"The joy of sitting around the table, eating and drinking like kings . . . I could feel, something's going to happen," he said.
By the time recording started, there were up to 100 people hanging around the small studio. The musicians would record all day and feast at night.
Broza watched as everyone became relaxed and friendly.
"The music sounded sweeter and sweeter by the day," he said. "The wine and the food prevailed."
Broza said Jewish musicians are influenced by a wide variety of styles, from Middle Eastern music, European classical and American pop.