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Gitit Shoval brings world to Newton

Special to the Journal

Gitit Shoval performs Sunday, March 19 at Temple Reyim in Newton. Photo by Kata Kozma

When Gitit Shoval takes the stage at Temple Reyim in Newton this month, she will lead her audience on a global musical tour that reflects her own life’s creative journey through songs from Israel and the U.S.

In an award winning musical career spanning forty years, the Israeli-born singer and platinum selling recording artist has performed on Israeli radio and television and on stages across Israel, Europe and in cities across North America. A versatile performer, Shoval was the voice-over artist for popular Israeli cartoons and the dubbed Hebrew voice for the Smurfette character from the Smurfs, as well as Barbie from the Barbie direct-to-DVD movie series.

But this concert is Shoval’s first in Boston, where she and her husband and musical partner Ron Druyan and their four now grown children have lived since 2010. They relocated from Israel across the Atlantic in 2003, settling first in Toronto.

This performance will also mark another career milestone: Shoval will preview selections from her first English language recording.

“Gitit Shoval: Live in Concert,” will showcase the singer’s diverse repertoire, from multi-genre Israeli songs to Jewish American composers including Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Carole King and George Gershwin. She also plans to include

Druyan’s new musical arrangement of the Hebrew prayer, “Avinu Malkenu.”

Shoval is excited, describing it is a celebration.

“I’m performing for forty years but this is very special to me because I am performing at home, for our friends and people we know,” she told the Journal in a phone conversation.

She’s equally enthusiastic about the musical guests who will join her onstage. Druyan, the concert’s producer, will be on keyboards; their son Shaqued, will be on drums, while daughter Tutti will be on vocals. Top billing also includes bassist Nadav Shapira.

Shoval described the selections for the concert as a musical collage, with some songs in Hebrew, others in English by Jewish American composers, as well as some world music songs.

“We will take the audience on a musical trip around the world, an artistic journey,” said Shoval.

“Every song has a story behind it,” she reflected and Shoval will share those stories throughout the concert.

Shoval first catapulted into the limelight of Israel’s popular music scene at age 13, in a performance at the 1979 pre-Eurovision concert, the first time the hugely popular European televised song competition was held in Israel.

Two years later, she released her first of ten recordings, “Taklit Rishon.” She joined musical forces with Druyan, her future husband, in the mid-to-late 1980s. It was around the time Shoval completed her service with the Israeli Defense Forces, where she performed as a soloist in IDF concerts. Druyan, a composer, musical arranger and producer, is a graduate of Boston’s Berklee College of Music.

Over the next two decades, the dynamic pair recorded nine more albums, from platinum selling Jewish holiday songs, popular Israeli songs, original compositions and new interpretations to American songs, often by Jewish composers. In 1992, Shoval represented Israel in the International Music Festival of Bucharest, Romania. The couple turned their passion into a business venture establishing a recording studio and production company that includes a successful global voice-over business.

In raising four children, Shoval decided to limit her own career and cut back on travel and other professional commitments in order to meet the needs of her family. But with two of their kids in the music world, it’s become the family business.

Shoval is well aware of the difficulties and challenges that face her two children pursuing lives in music.

“I actually did encourage them,” she acknowledged. “It’s an emotional roller coaster with many rejections,” she said. “You have to make the best of the ‘yeses’ along the way.”

“For me, family is not just a word. I am encouraging them to be there for each other, to work together.”

As their children are now grown, Shoval said the timing is right to resume her musical passion full time and she’s eager to embark on this new chapter in her life.

While this is Shoval’s first public concert in Boston, her voice has been a welcome addition to religious services at Temple Emanuel, a Reform synagogue in Andover, where she is a cantorial soloist for the High Holidays and Friday evening Shabbat services.

In looking forward to her Boston debut, Shoval said music transcends the differences between people.

“The connection between Israeli and North American Jewish culture is really strong. That’s my story, the bridge between those cultures. We are from the same roots. This is what I want to show.”

Gitit Shoval: Live in Concert, Sunday, March 19, 8 pm; Temple Reyim, 1860 Washington St., Newton; Tickets: $25 in advance; $30 at the door; students, $15. Tickets can be purchased at Eventbrite.com or call 617-610-9121. Visit Gitit Shoval’s website, www.gititshovalmusic.com.

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