So, Fallas 2012 is over. A bit of piece and quiet at last. No more fireworks, bands in the streets, mascletas. At least for a while.
Well, exactly a week, actually.
That's all it takes before the next 'celebration' is underway. This time it's 'Tambores' and 'Bombos' which seems to translate as 'loud drums' and 'even louder drums.' They're on the streets. Making a lot of noise.
There's obviously a religious theme as the bands congregate near the market square. There's a lot of satin; purple, maroon and white capes and sashes are evidently needed if you're going to march with drums. Each 'team' has a standard at the front announcing where they come from and a local tells me that they tour the surrounding towns in turn. So if you've got a peaceful weekend this week, enjoy it. You might be next in line.
The first band sets off, thumping out a booming back-beat on the e-n-o-r-m-o-u-s bass drums while the snare-players rat-a-tat with a ferocity which tingles my eardrums. Up the main street they march, stepping slowly with the beat, swaying in unison, you almost think a be-heading is in the offing. Once they're just about out of earshot (about eight miles, I should think), the next group sets off, bass, snares, satin, swaying, just a different tune.
There are big bands (30 or more) and small bands (half-a-dozen) and a wide age-range of players. I'd estimate the youngest (who is actually keeping with the beat of the rest) is maybe 5 or 6, although there are younger tots slapping away with gay abandon (but completely drowned out by the tsunami of noise which surrounds them).
Some of the local kids take great delight in waiting at the bottom of the main drag, then sprinting out of the way when a band looks set to go.
A dozen bands in all finally make it to the Plaza Mayor where there are speeches of thanks which the drummers 'applaud' in thunderous fashion.
Finally, it's time to go home. But not quite. (Or quiet). They simply can't 'go quietly', these Spaniards. No. Before they go, there's a sort of mass 'jamming' session. Over a hundred drummers just having a ball.
It's crazy. Ludicrous. I just love it. And what a way to keep your youngsters involved in family life and off the streets. (In a manner of speaking). Just look at the lad in the video (below). The cry of 'Otra,' at the end translates as, 'More,' or 'Encore.' (Which, of course, they did!)
Finally, they drift away. To meet again next weekend.
In a town near you?
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