The rhythm of the drum is a galvanising force that’s best felt on the island at Benirrás beach every Sunday as sunset looms. A rousing weekly ritual that’s stirred the sands of the North since the early ‘90s, it was once unknown to the majority of descending visitors, but word is out, and it has been out for some time.
Hitting with the history, Sunday 18 August 1991 was the first of The Day of the Drums, as it later became known locally. Fuelled by political disenchantment with people gathering on the beach to protest against the first Gulf War in Iraq, thereafter it became a free, annual event that attracted thousands of peace seekers. Health and safety concerns shut it down for a time, but a collective of devoted drummers wouldn’t be deterred and so the heady tradition continued, getting bigger and bigger with the passing summer seasons.
Without question it’s a quintessential Balearic experience that attracts hundreds as they congregate on the beach and pile round the drummers from late afternoon until late. You could be right in there among the circles giving the chain of tribal rhythms everything you’ve got, unwinding further down the beach as the drumming becomes a background beat, or setting off onto the ocean via kayak to view the sunset further away from the buzz. Whichever you choose, enjoy it, embrace it, revel in it.
Now if we go beyond Ibiza and to the bygone years of mankind, drumming has been at the core of community life and healing in most ancient cultures. From the Tuvan shamans in Siberia to the Machis in Chile, the Anatolian culture in ancient Turkey to the Shuar in the Amazon Rainforest, the Inuit in Alaska and the West African Yoruba, it had purpose. It was a tool of communication, the fabric of connection, collaboration, reunion and healing. Shamanic drumming is said to be our connection to mother earth, Pacha Mama. The sound of our voices is our connection to the cosmos, with our hearts at the center, allowing flow between earth and cosmos. Added to that, studies point to drumming easing stress, elevating mood and relieving exhaustion.
With the above in mind, is there anyone who wouldn’t benefit from a trip up to Benirrás? It’s entrenched in island life from summer through to winter for a reason, and you should consider a taste if you haven’t done already. Adding to its appeal is Elements beach club restaurant which is always highly recommended, and its hippy market for eager-eyed shoppers.
The best way to get to Benirrás is by car, although you’ll want to get there early as parking on Sundays can be a frustrating experience, not recommended. Alternatively, a far more appealing option is with Aquabus, a local boat company, as it does a ferry-boat service from either San Antonio, San Miguel or Portinatx.