Peace seemed not only possible, but was palpable this week at the Metropolitan Room as Mira Awad sang her own compositions in Arabic, Hebrew and English. Her words are earthy, her voice transcendent and the yearning for something better remains in the air.
The Palestinian-Israeli sang of relationships, in her words, “relationships with myself, between people, between peoples.” With a graceful and full physicality, she sometimes played guitar, frame drum, a Middle Eastern flute called a ney and also added some bells to her barefoot ankle. She would translate the songs before singing, but her soulful expressiveness made the meanings clear, beyond language. Avi Fox-Rosen of Brooklyn accompanied her on guitar.
Adding even more electricity to the room, David Broza joined her on stage for a few songs. The Israeli singer/songwriter first met Awad at the Cameri Theater in Tel Aviv, when she was playing an Israeli soldier, and he “fell in love with her voice and her presence.” With some urging, he sang the song that first brought him great acclaim, Yihyeh tov,” in 1977, a song of hope.
Awad and Broza performed their on-stage premiere of a song they recorded together for his new album, in an East Jerusalem studio. “Ramallah Tel Aviv.” Broza explained that once, while visiting Ramallah, he saw lights in the distance and asked about them. “That’s Tel Aviv,” he was told, and was inspired to write “Ramallah/Tel Aviv,” a song full of longing and, still, hope.
In harmony, they also sang Awad’s “A Word,” in English. “A word/about tomorrow/before we drown in sorrow.”
Mira Awad performs “Arabic Fusion” again on 6/7 and 6/8 at the Metropolitan Room, 7 p.m., 34 West 22nd Street (between 5th and 6th). For reservations call 212 206 0440 or metropolitanroom.com, $20 music charge plus 2 drink minimum. She will be joined by Ernie Hammes on 6/7 and Hadar Noiberg on 6/8.