Pianist Adar Broshi died at 19 on April 5, 2019, after two and a half years of fighting a rare childhood cancer. During that heroic battle, Broshi wrote and recorded music.
Some of those songs — combining feelings of joy, uncertainty and the will to fight on — appear on a new album by the Avi Adrian Trio, Songs From A Dream: The Music of Adar Broshi.
The album was produced by Adar's father, Oded Broshi. Oded, who is also a musician, sat down with WBGO News Director Doug Doyle to talk about his son's life and work.
"Adar was so talented that whatever he took from me multiplied it a thousand fold," Oded says. "It's on a completely different level of talent and creativity. One thing I can say is that Adar listened to all kinds of music. We played jazz. We played classical. We played world music. He heard all these wonderful musicians from basically the day he was born. The speakers were always on and there was always something playing. I have videos of Adar banging on the piano when he was eight months. He already had this feel. Whenever there was music on his bodily reactions showed his excitement. He started dancing, moving and being happy."
Pianist and composer Avi Adrian says knowing Adar in person was a privilege, if only for the reason of meeting a rare soul rich in music, drawing, photography and film making. One of Adar's photos graces the cover of Songs From A Dream.
Oded says his oldest son had many talents and loved to express them: "The amount of creativity that Adar had is difficult to explain. If a day went by where he didn't create something, whether it was drawing or film or music, he felt that he'd lost a day. At the same time, he was never competitive with anyone. It was all kindness. He just wanted to be the best person he could be for other people in this world. He felt his art, his mission was to make music to make people happy and to make funny drawings to make people laugh. That's what drove him."
Songs From A Dream was recorded at Jerusalem Music Centre in July of 2019 with Avi Adrian on piano, Gilad Abro on bass and Israel Nahum on drums. The album was mastered at Masterdisk in Peekskill, New York by Scott Hull.
Producing Songs From A Dream has been just one of many ways that Oded Broshi is remembering his son. The proceeds from the sale of this record will be going to fight the childhood cancer that cut short the life of his son. Oded says Adar's ability to write and perform during such a difficult time is hard to explain.
"A boy just turns 17 while his peers are at school, he spends months and years in the hospital, in chemo and radiation and unspeakable tortures, and during all this time he never complains. He's trying to think about music and every moment that he can sit down at the piano or keyboard, I brought him a keyboard to the hospital, he'd sit down and play music or compose. This was maybe a way for him to deal with this. He was full of love."
When Adar was seven years old, Oded took him for a piano lesson with Avi Adrian. As part of the very first lesson, Avi had Adar play a basic blues tune. Avi has a cockatiel named Arik, who showed a hidden talent for improvising the blues. When Avid and Adar started to play the blues on the piano, Arik joined in. The clip, titled "Blues Singing Bird," has amassed nearly a quarter million views.
Oded Broshi says he's working on a Volume II of his son's compositions, hopefully featuring drummer Peter Erskine. To hear Songs From a Dream, or learn more about Adar, visit songsfromadream.com.