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Tel Aviv Drum Beach

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  • Dolphinarium, Tel Aviv-Jaffa
  • Tel Aviv Beach Front
  • December 1, 2017
  • 3:00 pm
  • Free

By: Gabrielle Donati

For 20+ years, musicians from around Israel have descended on the small stretch of paradise on the northern side of the Dolphinarium complex every Friday afternoon to pound out the week’s frustrations and welcome Shabbat in with a melody. Everyone congregates on what appears to be an alleyway that begins off the parking lot and curves toward the back of the complex. It’s not hard to find, but you’ll believe you’re at the wrong place all the way up to the moment when you’re nearly through the entrance and can finally hear the drumbeats. Let the graffitied “Broken Fingaz” sign above an open entrance serve as your marker.

This party gets started around 3:00 pm every Friday afternoon and continues until after sundown when with Shabbat dinner waiting, the musicians begin to pack it up and head home, although a small core of players and dancers often continues through the evening. This is a perfect spot to catch one of Tel Aviv’s glorious sunsets, so arrive early, shake your booty ’til it’s all shook-out, uncork a bottle of vino, and watch the sun melt into the Mediterranean Sea to the beat of a not-so-distant drum.

The musicians include both professionals and amateurs, male and female – and visitors are encouraged to bring their own percussion instrument and join in the revelry. Some Fridays see up to 50 drummers at a time, while the average is around 20. The only prerequisites are desire and passion – although a bit of natural rhythm doesn’t hurt.

There is an unmistakable atmosphere of “anything goes”, helped out in no small part by the variety of personalities in the crowd. The hypnotic rhythm appeals to all ages, and you’ll find toddlers up to pensioners grooving on the dance floor in front of the musicians as they gyrate in freestyle form to the pulsing rhythm. Not only all ages, but all styles from all walks of life fill the floor, forming a true microcosm of society. You’ll also notice the unmistakable “family” bond between the musicians and the audience. It is not unusual to see food or drink being shared with the crowd when one of the regulars commemorates a family event. Everyone is family at Drum Beach.

Bordering the alleyway is a line of rocks upon which those who only wish to observe the action, can sit and chill. The rocks form an incline down to the sandy shore and a small lagoon where children safely splash in nature’s homemade “pool”. There were years when up to 1000 participants would spread out over the rocks and cascade down to the shoreline dancing, juggling, and celebrating life, although these days the crowd isn’t quite so expansive.

Details

Where: Near the Dolphinarium, Tel Aviv-Jaffa
When: Fridays from 3:00 pm
Cost: Free

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About the author

Gabrielle Donati lives a life of relative ease in the great White City. She is a veteran writer, critic and all-in-all decent person, once you get to know her. A devout Pastafarian who puts an emphasis on living healthy and happy, she enjoys discovering and sharing the many little pleasures of the city.

Photo: Gabrielle Donati

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