Europe Award Winner
It Wasn’t Hard to Love You on Asphalt Tango Records
It’s a sad comment on the record industry that rumours have it that It Wasn’t Hard to Love You may be the last album from Romania’s Fanfare Ciocărlia. It’s not that the world’s foremost Balkan brass band are breaking up – rather that it is becoming increasingly unviable financially to make high-quality studio albums like this one and the band are looking at becoming solely a touring act, where post-lockdown a good living can again be made.
Last year was their 25th anniversary and to ensure the birthday was properly celebrated, It Wasn’t Hard to Love You (a Top of the World in the December 2021 issue, #173) was partially crowdfunded and partly financed by the group’s appearance on the soundtrack to the latest Borat movie. The album opens with ‘Just the Two of Us’, which was commissioned specifically for the film. Then it’s into the territory the band knows and loves best – pumping instrumentals powered by oompah rhythms and speed-demon solos of unbelievable dexterity. Back in 2005 Fanfare Ciocărlia won a BBC Radio 3 Award for World Music but this is their first victory in the Songlines Music Awards. It’s richly deserved, for if this is to be their final studio album, it’s as frenzied and as full of fun as anything they’ve ever done.