The Banat mountain region comprises a number of well known ethnographic zones - Valea Almăjului and Valea Bistrei, with sub-zones Borlova and Bolvaşniţa, and joined by the Timiş-Cerna corridor. Lesser known zones are Craina, Valea Bacuiului, the Slavic enclave Caraşova, and the low hills around the towns of Reşiţa, Oraviţa and Caran-Sebeş. The Banat mountain region is closely associated with the Pădureni zone of Hunedoara and the Făget zone of Banat.
There is strong archaeological evidence of continued inhabitation from the Neolithic period to the present day along the valleys and mountain foothills. The Roman presence is seen through all the valley communication routes. In 106 Dacia fell to the Romans with Banat becoming part of the Roman imperial province of Dacia.
The departure of the Romans left the Banat at the border of the Roman, Byzantine, and Bulgarian empires to the south and Visgoth, Hun, Gepid, Avar kingdoms to the north. Slavs settled in the area during the 6th century under the Avar empire which existed throughout the 7th and 8th centuries. The Avar kingdom was probably an ethnic mix of Avars, Gepids (Germanic), Slavs and others, possibly Vlachs. Banat was incorporated into the Bulgarian empire by 824.
It is likely that Vlachs, Serbians and Bulgarian relocated to the Banat from Serbia and Bulgaria with the advancing of the Ottoman Turks, but the population declined throughout the Turkish-Hungarian wars. After 1718 when Banat became part of the Hapsburg empire the land was drained and populated by state organised colonisation, there was also private colonisation organised by the landlords and spontaneous movements of peasants. This all led to a mix of Germans, Serbs, Romanians, Hungarians, Slovaks (from southern Hungary), and Czechs. A border military zone in the Banat mountains was formed in 1775 which gave tax privileges to the villagers.
History has left a number of important minorities in Banatul de munte; Serbian villages along the Danube, a few Czech villages, and Hungarians represent around 2% of the population.
The social dance Hora is common, but the "common Sârba" is not found, although a few Brâul type dances are in Sârba rhythm.
The dances in Banatul de munte consist of many variations of the column formation couple dances Ardeleana and De Doi, which are similar to the Haţagana dances of southern Transylvania. These have similarities to the dances of the Câmpia Banatului (plain region) but do not have the influences of the neighbouring Bihor and Hungarian regions.
The men's dances are the many variants of Brâul which cover a range of dances from the the simple sequence akin to the Pădureni Brâul, relatively complex fixed sequences often named after a person (for example Brâul lui Toma), and the music rhythm may be either 2/4 or 7/8. Choreographically these dances have similarities with some dances of West Oltenia, and appear to have similarities with north east Serbia and north west Bulgaria, which is not surprising as these regions have a large Vlach population.
The style of these dances was sharp and rapid, but the tempo has further increased over the years making De Doi particularly fast. Since the 1970s the trend is to dance on the off beat, in syncopation to the melody, still at increased tempo. This causes relatively simple Brâul or De Doi to become quite tricky!
The zone of low hills between the mountain valleys and the Banat plain, around the towns of Reşiţa, Oraviţa and Caran-Sebeş, has a slightly different repertoire of dances including Măzărica and De Doi for one man and two girls.
|Balkan 3 measure||4 measure Hora||uni-directional||bi-directional||in place|
|Ritual dances||Brâul||Group men's dances||Lad's dances||Verbunc|
|Turning dances||Column dances||Csardas||
|Ardeleana, De Doi, Măzărica|
Lugoj - was a centre for cojoc making in the 18th century for the region.
Bosic, M. (1989), Narodna Nošnja Slovaka U Banatu-Kovacica, Kulturno-Prosvjetni Sabor Hrvatske, Zagreb
Fosca, G. (1971), Muzeul Satului Studii si Cercetari, Bucharest, Muzeul Satului
Telbizov, M. T. K. (1958), Narodnata Nosiya na Banatskite Bulgari, Akademiya
Turcus, A. (1982), Portul Popular Românesc din Judeţul Timiş, Timişoara, Comitetul de Cultura Timis
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Stoica, G & Petrescu, P (1997), Dicţionar de artă populara, Bucureşti
Ministerul Culturii şi Cultelor lista monumentelor istorice 2004 (http://www.cultura.ro/)
Recontre avec la Roumanie "Banat", Electrecord STM-EPE 0751
Muzica populară Bănăteană, Elecrtrecord EPE 0284
Nelu Stan (violin), Elecrtrecord EPE 01336
Efta Botoca (violin), Electrecord ST-EPE 01963, Electrecord ST-EPE 03783, Electrecord ST-EPE 04199
Ensemble Folklorique Timisul, Electrecord ST-EPE 01533
Jocuri Populare din Banat, Electrecord ST-EPE 03090
Ansambul Banatul, Electrecord ST-EPE 01263
Muzica Populare Banateana, Electrecord ST-EPE 00284
Ion Peptenar (taragot), Electrecord ST-EPE 03653
Ilie si Radu Vincu (violin), Electrecord ST-EPE 03223
Taraf de Caransebes - Musiciens du Banat Silex Y225208
Romania Traditions - Doina Timisului Arc Music EUCD 1835
Luca Novac Electrecord EDC 218, ST-EPE 01371, ST-EPE 01794, ST-EPE 03317, ST-EPE 03967
Ion Peptenar - Un virtuose du taragot Electrecord ST-EPE 03027
Remus Bistrita - taragot Electrecord EPC 10.048
Ion Olan - Doine si Jocuri Banatene Eurostar CDS - 239
Constantin Olan Eurostar CDS - 020
Geza Novac Electrecord ST-EPE 02154
Ion Peptenar Electrecord ST-EPE 03653
Novac Luca & Geza Electrecord STC 000660