"Pachanga lives in St. Cloud"

"¡Viva la Pachanga!" CD review by Phillip Strozinsky in St. Cloud State's University Chronicle published Thursday, Dec. 4, 2003

When it comes to moving your hips and lacing up your dancing shoes, the spirit of Pachanga will enrapture your body and mind. As the liner notes explain, the Spanish word "pachanga" means "get down, get loose , party and have a good time." This is exactly what the Stearns County Pachanga Society (SCPS) brings to music fans.

With their first musical CD release entitled "Viva la Pachanga," SCPS is a musical organization dedicated to bringing rhythmic diversity and influences from other cultures to the United States.

The band consists of nine individuals from areas around St. Cloud to locations such as Peru, birthplace of Lalo Quillo (zampona/pan flute/quena/wooden flute/vocals). At one time or another, SCSU has been a cozy home for these individuals. Mike Hasbrouck (lead vocals and rhythm guitar), is a Spanish professor at SCSU. Both young at heart and a pleasure to talk with, Hasbrouck’s influential roots and love of hispanic music is evident.

SCPS first assembled in June of 2002, holding regular "meetings," in which people were encouraged to participate either by playing their own percussion instruments or simply dancing to the "shake your money maker" grooves.

"The band later grew into a more serious group, combining individuals from a popular world beat music style group called the Surahoolies," Hasbrouck said.

From playing in bars such as The Rox and The Red Carpet, Stearns County Pachanga Society has made a name for itself. Its catalog of around 60 songs has made this band quite popular with an amazing amount of musical talent.

"Viva La Pachanga" includes songs from all over the globe, old and new. Songs featured on their release such as "Nube Blanca" and "Born in Babylon," are Stearns County originals. "Nube Blanca" was the first Cumbia composed in Stearns County. The meaning of this song translates to "white cloud" in English, taking on greater meaning if you’re from the St. Cloud area.

Both of these songs are thoughtful and energetic with melodic tones and percussion instrumentation hitting deep into the soul with heart-warming rhythm. Other songs that are featured on "Viva La Pachanga" include "La Negra Celina," "El Manicero" and "Guantanamera." Known as one of the more popular songs, "Guantanamera" takes its first verse from a poem by Jose Marti, Cuba’s national hero. As the liner notes continue to explain, the last verse contains words written by Hasbrouck, meant to be a commentary on the government’s prohibition of travel to Cuba. This nine-track, full-length CD is guaranteed to bring a smile to your face with a little booty shakin’ on the side. From the crisp drum beats to the sharp howling sounds of the guitar and flute, this CD will definitley fill your heart with delight.