The drumming workshop as part of the European BRIDGES programme run by Tortosa Council and the UCEC works towards social inclusion through music

  • The workshop forms part of the cultural activities included in the European programme BRIDGES taking place in Tortosa.
  • Classes started on 10 January and the workshop also includes a monthly master class and public performances in June at the end of the course.
  • Tortosa Council and the Unió de Consells Esportius de Catalunya (UCEC, Catalan sports council) represent Catalonia in this project for promoting social cohesion and inclusion.

Tortosa, 17 February 2020 – The European BRIDGES programme works towards the promotion of inclusive communities in Europe and to help the integration of local groups by strengthening solidarity. Among the many activities taking place in the project in Tortosa, the drumming workshop began on 10 January. This activity aims to promote contacts and mutual improvement among citizens through music. It takes place every Friday at the Espai Sant Joan in Tortosa.

“The first benefit people obtain from the drumming workshop is the music. People who didn’t realize they had a talent for music and now they’ve discovered it thanks to the workshop. Perhaps they’ll continue devoting time to music now. The second benefit is that music and this kind of experiences can bring together people from any origin or background. Everyone has their own character, but in the workshop we’re all working in the same direction,” explains Blai Batiste, a gypsy musician from Tortosa and teacher at the BRIDGES drumming workshop. The workshop is one of the activities offered by the Artistic and Cultural Activities Centre for Social Inclusion in Tortosa.

Participants in the workshop are youngsters between the age of 11 and 25. Some are also participating in other projects, whereas some have signed up for the first time. From day one, the feedback to the workshop has been positive. It has generated plenty of interest and participants are taking seriously this opportunity to learn to play instruments such as the cajón. Batiste starts out classes with simple easy-to-learn rhythms such as in a fandango or reggaeton style. “The changes a project like this bring to local communities are significant because when we use music to interact, to share, to express ourselves, we transmit feelings and, above all, we promote companionship as participants help and teach each other,” says Batiste. Integration, working together, and social harmony are the points which stand out from the first classes. Several participants explain how they have made new friends thanks to this time shared learning how to play percussion instruments.

As well as the weekly classes every Friday, the monthly master classes begin now in February, taking place on one Saturday a month from 10.00 to 12.00. The master classes are open to the general public, not only the participants in the weekly workshops. They consist of more flexible improvisation sessions. Instruments are provided by the organization for both the weekly classes and the master classes.

Towards the end of the drumming workshop, there will be three musical performances by participants on 5, 6, and 19 June. This will form part of the local ArtXiBarri festival, and the closing events of the BRIDGES programme and the Artistic and Cultural Activities Centre for Social Inclusion in Tortosa at the Espai Sant Joan centre.