"Pachanga plays Pioneer"

Article by Beth Kern in St. Cloud State's University Chronicle published Thursday, March 25, 2004

Every now and then, the members of the local group Pachanga like to mix things up with a change of scenery.

"We played at a museum recently for an exhibit opening," member Mike Hasbrouck said. "It was a different venue, much quieter. But we still had fun and received a lot of favorable comments."

Pachanga played at the opening of the Smithsonian sponsored "Americanos," a Latin-American photo exhibit in early February. For this special occasion, the band tried refining its sound and cutting electric instruments wherever possible. As a result, the sound became more authentic and the individual instruments more clearly heard and cohesive.

Since 2002, Pachanga has played a standing engagement at the Tavern on St. Germain. Last night, the band played another non-bar show at the Pioneer Place on Fifth.

The nine members of the band met through SCSU and were students at one time. The band is Hasbrouck's brainchild. "Pachanga" in Spanish means to "get down, get loose, whoop it up and have a good time together," which explains the enrapturing beat and style of the music. Pachanga's style of music combines the approaches and musical spirits of Cuban Cabildos, Brazilian Samba Clubs, Spanish Charangas and other dance rhythms from around the world, including varieties of rock 'n roll.

Typical meetings of the Stearns County Pachanga Society consist of the band playing and the audience contributing percussion and dance moves in keeping with the Pachanga spirit of "wild and crazy letting go." Their songs feature music from all over the world, from Brazil, Colombia and Cuba to France, England and the United States. What makes Pachanga unique is the cohesion of every member's contributions from percussion to vocals.

Pachanga's music appeals to a broad audience. They seem to be able to break down both age and culture barriers. Now, with shows like the one at Pioneer Place, they want to appeal to a non-bar going audience.

"We want to get exposed to other audiences outside the bar," Hasbrouck said.

Pachanga has taken the month of March off from the Rox and the Red Carpet. Since many fans expressed the desire to see more of this side of the band, the band decided to perform this "new sound" in a fitting setting.

"We chose the Pioneer Place because it was a more refined setting, but it still has enough room for a dance floor," Hasbrouck said.

"I go every now and then," President of the Latin American Student Organization at SCSU Louis Seghezzi said. "I like the music. It's both Caribbean and latin. I enjoy them."

Pachanga is taking its new sound in a new direction. Wednesday night's performance had both old songs from their album 'Viva la Pachanga' and some new songs featuring their new sound.