Tamboradas drum-playing rituals

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Inscribed in 2018 (13.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

© Adarve Producciones 2011

Tamboradas drum-playing rituals are loud, group rituals based on the simultaneous, intense beating of thousands of drums, played uninterruptedly for days and nights in public spaces in towns and villages. Each year, this creates a captivating landscape of sound and identity in an atmosphere charged with emotion and an intense feeling of collective communion. The tamboradas are part of the Catholic Holy Week celebrations, and have special significance according to different places, days and times. Everywhere, whether religious and devotional or secular and playful, the practice creates a landscape of sensations and mutual respect. The costumes, instruments, drum beats and drum rolls generate a rich local craft in which families and women play an important role. Shared meals in public spaces also enhance the feeling of friendliness. Communities prepare for the ritual all year round and are organized into different groups. The practice and knowledge are transmitted within these groups by the most experienced individuals, and the transmission process generates a strong sense of belonging to the group and a deep connection with the ritual among the entire community. Various events ensure the intergenerational transmission of the practice, such as children’s and national tamboradas, drum roll and embroidery workshops, and competitions.

Boys and girls from the 'turba coliblanca' (with-maned group), Baena (Córdoba), playing their drums during Holy Week. They wear a metal helmet with a white horse's mane hanging from it, which is their symbol of identification
The black-maned squad playing the drum in the historic center of Baena (Córdoba), during Holy Week. These people wear the traditional colorful attire with an embroidered jacket, trousers and helmet, with the distinctive black mane
Albalate del Arzobispo (Teruel), the craftsman José María Gasco de la Rosa in his workshop making the instruments
Good Friday in Calanda (Teruel). In the procession of the opening speech drums and bass drums are heard. Purple tunics and hoods are worn. Women, children and men of all ages perform a drum-roll in unison
The 'Tamborada' (drum festival) of Holy Wednesday, from 3:00 o'clock in the afternoon on, drummers of both gender and all ages flood the streets of the historic center of Hellín
The end of the 'Tamborada' in Tobarra (Albacete), next to the Drum Monument, just minutes before midnight of Easter Sunday, the moment when everyone will stop playing the drum at the exact same time, falling into silence until the following year
The Friday before Holy Week ('Viernes de Dolores') in Moratalla (Murcia) a children's 'tamborada (drum festival). The children carry on the tradition and show what they have learned at drum school, carrying the same drums and wearing the same clothes as the adults
The Night of the Drums, this takes place on Holy Tuesday at midnight in the Square of the Town Hall, Mula (Murcia). Thousands of drummers, dressed in black tunics, sound their drums seamlessly until the evening of Holy Wednesday