The legend of the drummer from El Bruc. Why Montserrat Mountains are so important in Catalonia

ImageThe drummer from El Bruc is one of the popular heroes in Catalonia. This legend tells the story of a young boy from Santpedor –the town where Pep Guardiola lived all his childhood-, that with the huge noise of his drum scared the French army of Napoleon  during one terrible battle in Montserrat Mountains.

In early 1808, the French army invaded Catalonia, entering through La Jonquera, North of the country. They were going to Barcelona, the capital, and from there, they wanted to invade the entire region.

So, on June, hundreds of soldiers were going to Igualada and Manresa, two cities in the center of Catalonia. Between the two cities, there are breathtaking mountains, with a peculiar form, called Montserrat Mountains.

Napoleon’s army had not lost any battle until then… The importance of the battle of Bruc is that it broke the invincibility of the French army. But, how could this occur?

The legend tells that when the soldiers were crossing the mountains, this young boy started to make a terrible noise with his drum. Hided in a cave of the mountains, he made the French believe that Spanish army was bigger. When the French army listened the spectacular roar coming from “inside” of the mountains, they decided to retire on time.

The Battle of El Bruc was not a really battle, says the history, but a kind of skirmish where the French, terrified and frightened by the possibility of being to an ambush in Montserrat, decided to return to Barcelona. It was the first time that the French army lost a battle, and this was possible because one young boy had an excellent idea with a simply instrument.

The drummer has some monuments in El Bruc, Santpedor and Barcelona. Last year, a film based on this legend was created by a Catalan director. The filming was done in the real mountains of Montserrat. The difficult access made the team arrived on foot and with all machinery loaded on donkeys.

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