Dovid Yehoshua's name is getting out to the public very quickly. His debut album, released this summer, already has him doing interviews on Israel National Radio, Galgalatz and other radio stations and newspapers throughout Israel. His video for the single "Yerushalayim" is gaining popularity on the Internet.
Born in London, England, Dovid moved to Israel about five years ago and served in a fighting unit station in Gaza as part of the Hesder yeshiva program that combines army service with Torah study.
The album, entitled Witnessing Eyes, is catchy, easy to listen to and easy to get into. It is a hard-to-describe mix of Jewish pop and acoustic guitar based light rock and ballads. One track has a reggae feel. Another is an electric guitar solo. A third track has strings and a horn section.
Dovid Yehoshua sings, plays guitar and wrote almost all the words and music. All the lyrics are in Hebrew and based on Jewish themes with traditional sources such as Lecha Dodi Shir HaMa'alot and Asher Bara. An exception is Yerushalayim, an upbeat tune which mixes English lyrics with the Israeli classic Yerushalayim Shel Zahav, (Jerusalem of Gold).
The young singer talked with Israel National Radio's Ben Bresky about his music, making aliyah and climbing the Old City walls.
Question: What is the story behind the song Yerushalayim?
Answer: Several years back I was in Yeshivat HaKotel in the Old City. There's a competition between overseas yeshiva programs called Battle of the Bands. This was our yeshiva's entry. Even though it didn't win, I knew we had to use it in the album. My next stage was to turn to the family of Naomi Shemer to get permission. As you can imagine, it wasn't the simplest thing. The family until then had said, "You know this is THE song of Naomi Shemer," and they didn't want me to use it. But I sent them the music and lyrics, and they loved it and gave me permission. I'm very thankful to them. The song talks about the love of Yerushalayim, and the desire for it to be together and whole and one, and as it says in the song, "From all your song and just the violin, just one instrument in the picture." We hope this can be a prayer to G-d that hopefully Yerushalayim shall remain as one and be the center of Eretz Yisrael for Am Yisrael.
Question: The song goes "there's something about this place we love" What is that something?
If you can put your finger on it, then you tell me. You have to be there to feel it.
Answer: If you can put your finger on it, then you tell me. You have to be there to feel it. I don't think there's a single person who has been to Jerusalem and hasn't felt it. Whether you're Jewish or non-Jewish, everyone can feel it. It's that beauty and kedusha and holiness, that special thing you get when you're standing in the place where we had the Beit Hamikdash and where we're going to have the future one.
Question: Tell us about the video for the song.
Answer: We wanted something that shows the beauty of Yerushalayim. I wanted to show the city as both ancient and modern. It's not just Yerushalayim Pa'am, "Jerusalem that was from 2,000 years ago. It starts with me standing on the walls of the Old City. Getting up there is quite a story. The center of Yerushalayim is the Old City were the Kotel is.
Question: How did you get up there? Did you have a safety harness?
Answer: No, there was nothing. I'm actually standing there on my own two feet. We went to the Old City. I found the highest location possible, and found a way up there. We'll keep it a secret how I actually got up there.
Question: Do you have any interesting concert stories?
Answer: The first time I really performed in front of an audience was when I was about five years old. It was at the dedication of a yeshiva in Maale Adumim. There was a band playing and everyone was singing and dancing. Little Dovid Yehoshua got up there on the stage and with his hands in his pockets stood up on the chair and started singing. No one knew why I was there or where I came from, but I just started singing.
Question: What do you suggest to other people interested in moving to Israel?
Answer: You just have to embrace it. It doesn't matter if you're from England or anywhere else. It's a challenge. There's no other place for the Jews. I used to walk down the streets of England, and unfortunately in the last few years it's had anti-Semitic attacks. People would shout at me when they saw a kippah on my head, "go home go home." And there was nothing I could say to them in response because I wasn't home. But now Israel is my country. I feel that I am home. This is my land. Our Jerusalem, our Eretz Yisrael. This is what we have been dreaming about and we're really approaching the redemption. We're building up to it and it's an amazing thing to be part of and you've got to take it.