Music for download - "Cioban"

The name “cioban” derives from Romanian language and it means “a sheep shepherd (Romanian: czoban)”. It is a dynamic dance, played in 2/4 meter and danced in a round. Any given number of dance pairs can take part in the dance. The folk ditty that precedes the dance is an introduction and a kind of guide for dancers:

“My cioban, my, my, my,

how unpretty you are

My sheep with thy sheep 

wonʼt feed side by side


My cioban, my, my, my,

how unkind you are

My sheep with thy sheep 

wonʼt drink water side by side”

Particular words are assigned to concrete dance figures performed in the dance (for example: as the words “…my cioban” are sung, the female dancers make a curve in front of their male dance partners, towards their left side).

The oldest highlanders, who teach this dance, tend to compare a dancer in cioban to a shepherd, who takes a sheep on his back, hence the female dancerʼs characteristic jump done during the turn.

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The origin of the dance is worth mentioning. Cioban is an example of a dance characteristic for the group of highlanders described in the literature of the subject as czadecki highlanders, although they should, however, be more appropriately described as Bukovina highlanders. Nevertheless, the highlanders themselves tend to directly refer to this name (e.g. “Watra” ensemble from Brzeźnica), as well as to the names derived from the names of the places inhabited by their ancestors before 1945–46 (e.g. the so-called pojańczycy – Poiana highlanders).

This community is of Silesian and Małopolska (Lesser Poland) origin and a significant part of it for some time inhabited the valley of Kysuca and Pohorele in the territory of present-day Slovakia. At the beginning of the 19th  century, within the framework of the Habsburg colonial policy, this community was resettled to Romanian Bukovina.

After World War II, some of the Bukovina highlanders have undergone voluntary repatriation and settled in several villages in the historical Lower Silesia region. The time that the members of this community have spent in the multi-ethnic environment of Bukovina, left a significant mark on their traditions, turning them into a fascinating combination of the elements of Carpathian culture, mixed with the elements of dances characteristic for several communities of emigrants that arrived to Bukovina from different parts of the Habsburg Empire. Cioban is a good example of a dance that was brought to Bukovina and is originally known from several regions in todayʼs Romania.

Dąbrowska, Grażyna W. red. Taniec w polskiej tradycji. Leksykon. Warszawa: MUZA, 2005/2006.