Anyone who saw Borat: Subsequent Film has already had a sneak preview of this album as Fanfare Ciocarlia’s version of Bill Wither’s “Just The Two of Us” played over the closing credits of the movie. On It Wasn’t Hard To Love You its the opening track. It also gives you a good idea of just what to expect – and that’s not to try to anticipate anything when it comes to this band.
Fanfare Ciocarlia have been delighting audiences for 25 years with the twists and turns they bring to both original material and covers. Ever since their version of Steppenwolf’s “Born To Be Wild”, included in the first Borat movie, gave them international fame, they’ve brought their unique brand of Romany brass band music to the world.
On It Wasn’t Hard To Love You they are given ample opportunity to show off their diversity with a wealth of new material written especially for them by label mates Kobe Israelite and Adrian Rosso, and Asphalt Tango’s producer, Henry Ernst. Rosso recorded (the amazing Devils Tale) and toured with the band so it’s no wonder his song “Red Moon” suits them ideally.
Not only does the song show off Fanfare Ciocarlia’s agility when playing at breakneck speeds, Rosso included softer moments allowing us to hear the band’s delicacy. Not something you’d expect from a brass band.
However, that’s just what makes Fanfare Ciocarlia so good. They’re not a one note, or style, band. They create textures and sounds you wouldn’t think possible with brass instruments.
A great example of this is the Israelite penned “First Aid Klezmer”. It seems only fitting that the music of the two historically second class people of Eastern Europe, Roma and Jews, come together in one song.
Musically the two styles of music actually have less in common than you’d think. Klezmer is not usually played with brass band instruments. However, Fanfare Ciocarlia has always featured clarinet predominately in their music – much like Klezmer – and Israelite uses that common element to create something that is a perfect mixture of both musics.
Like every band in the world Fanfare Ciocarlia felt the impact of the COVID pandemic as touring was stopped and their income shrank. This album was completely crowdfunded and not only celebrates their 25th anniversary as a band, but is a celebration of the love between them and their fans all around the world.
If you’ve never experienced the joy and celebration of a Fanfare Ciocarlia album then now’s the time and It Wasn’t Had To Love You is a great place to start. A wonderful album of exhilarating and life-affirming music is just what the doctor ordered in these troubled times.