BEAT IT BY THE BEACH.
Dubai As the weather cools, there's a new beat to weekends at THE Beach, opposite Jumeirah Beach Residence in Dubai. Between 5 and 6 pm, the North Lawn Area, next to Eggspectation, comes alive with a unique rhythm.
Professional drummers take the lead with resounding beats and soon, an entire crowd around them wants to follow suit. The lucky ones get drums to give it a go, the others just clap their hands or tap their feet. Simple instructions are issued and the collective build up from there is as singular as the diversity of those present at that moment.
"It feels like a representation of the United Nations," said Julie Ann, founder of the Dubai Drums, organiser of the event called Sunset Drum Circle. "We are a multicultural organisation and have drummers and facilitators from the UK, Iraq, Morocco, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Senegal, UAE, Mexico, Canada, Philippines - a nice mix from Asia, Europe, Middle East and Africa."
She said each circle typically has three to four drummers from Dubai Drums leading the session with people around accompanying them on 40 drums.
Most of the others present have little or no experience in drumming, but that hardly matters.
"I was so delighted when Dubai finally got a mall on the beach opposite JBR. I couldn't wait to approach them to hold a community drum circle as the sun set by the sea," Ann told XPRESS.
"We are guided by the concept that unity, collaboration and communication is the universal language of rhythm that transcends all boundaries," said one of the drummers.
"The Sunset Drum Circle is all about unifying and collaborating - regardless of age or cultural background. It's a family-friendly event where a toddler can be seen playing drums right next to a parent or another adult, where everyone is equally important. It's also about enjoying the beautiful atmosphere of sunset at THE BEACH, opposite JBR and being able to drum on its terraced steps and watch the sunset - feeling energized and relaxed," he added.
Dubai Drums, which was formed in 2002, has been conducting community drum circles at different events for many years. Everyone in the audience typically gets a drum and a facilitator guides the participants in an empowering manner, so they feel confident to express their rhythms and be part of the "tribe".
But why drumming? Drums, as history goes, are the oldest percussion instruments known to man, their beat signifying different things at different times. Symbolic in religious ceremonies and an essential component of all music, they have long been used as a tool to talk and communicate to help bring people together or build team spirit. According to Dubai Drums, "Drumming has also been scientifically proven to change brainwave patterns to alpha state, which quickly relieves stress. It's healthy - it boosts the immune system and raises endorphins." Above all, it is fun and makes people smile and feel happy.
"Wow, I had never tried the drum before. It is such fun," said Ian Smith, an 11-year-old who was part of the Sunset Drum Circle last Friday.
Others present couldn't agree more. Shireen, a 40-year-old woman, was so taken in by the beats that she wanted to learn drumming. "I am convinced about the idea. I guess it's never too late to start," she said.
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