Israeli Springsteen wields flamenco and blues at festival

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When singer David Broza moved to New Jersey from Haifa, he studied poetry in order to learn about American culture.

Contemporary poets like Liam Rector, Elizabeth Bishop, Alberto Rios and Theodore Roethke so thoroughly inspired the Israeli pop star — whom American critics have compared to Gordon Lightfoot and Jackson Browne — that he collaborated with the poets to set their works to music.

Broza's soulful vocals and guitar work, gliding easily back and forth between blues to flamenco to gospel, have earned him a number of gold and platinum albums in Israel; he has released CDs in the United States as well.

Visitors to Jerusalem in the Gardens on Sunday, June 9 at Yerba Buena Gardens in San Francisco, can see firsthand why the heartthrob's fans insist that — like Bruce Springsteen, to whom he has also been compared — Broza is at his best live, onstage.

Now living in New Jersey, Broza, who was raised in England and Spain and sings in both English and Hebrew, will be the headline performer at Jerusalem in the Gardens.

The Israeli singing group Ahoova will kick off the event at noon with dollops of Yemenite, Eastern European and Ladino music. Los Angeles-based Israeli singer Jimmy Gamliel will also take a turn onstage. Joel and Lori Abramson will a lead a sing-along of Israeli songs, and Donna Frankel will guide participants through a variety of Israeli dances.

Broza's concert begins at 3 p.m.