­VIVA! brings Pacha Massive to Appleton

Zachary Keilholz

Appleton is set to receive a heavy dose of diversity Fri., May 11, when ­VIVA! brings the New York-based Latin alternative band Pacha Massive to Lawrence.
For the unfamiliar, ­VIVA! is not an acronym, but rather, a reflection of high-energy Latino/Hispanic culture. The Lawrence campus has the chance to experience some of this energy at ­VIVA!’s latest event.
Pacha Massive — pronounced puh-CHAH — comes from the word “Pachamama,” which is often translated as “Mother Earth.”
The band was founded in 2005 by Dominican-born Nova, and Colombian-born Maya.
Featuring a “mixture of traditional Latin rhythms such as Colombian cumbia, Dominican palo, reggae, dancehall, dub and electronica,” the band is sure to please a wide variety of audiences.
With some tremendous concert openings, the band has experienced overwhelming popularity. After winning the Latin Alternative Music Conference battle of the bands and being chosen as MTV’s first “Discover and Download” artist, the band was thrust onto the national stage.
After seeing the band perform at a concert in New York, ­VIVA! Co-president Valeria Rojas knew right away that the group would be a fantastic act to bring to Lawrence.
Rojas entranced fellow ­VIVA! members with tales of Pacha Massive. ­VIVA! immediately fell in love with the idea of bringing Pacha to campus, and with a shared goal in mind, they went to work.
Co-president Teresa Hardison exchanged messages with Pacha throughout the year, discussing the possibility of the band traveling to Appleton, and eventually, everything fell into place.
A date for the concert was agreed upon, but more importantly, ­VIVA! secured the funds necessary to bring the band to campus.
This Friday-night event is hosted by ­VIVA!, BOS, MCAC, Habitat for Humanity, LU Finance Committee, and the LU Spanish department.
Though the group has semi-existed at Lawrence for the last 20 years, ­VIVA! was given a true breath of life five years ago due to the perseverance of a recent alumnus, George Barrios.
Barrios, a native of Chile, increased group membership and campus involvement and transformed ­VIVA! into the thriving organization it is today.
With juniors Hardison and Rojas at the helm, ­VIVA! strives to bring Latino/Hispanic awareness to the Lawrence and greater Appleton community.
“We want to bring excitement to campus, and give students opportunities to learn more about these cultures,” Hardison said.
Through poetry readings, singing, selling food, and dancing, ­VIVA! hopes to provide a learning and participatory experience to show people that there is more to Latino/Hispanic culture than salsa and merengue.
In addition to its stimulating campus events, ­VIVA! has taken members to volunteer in Chicago-area Latino neighborhoods for the last two years. These types of events can provide members with thrilling new experiences.
In the future, the group hopes to become an even more established campus organization, and this Friday, they will be hosting their biggest event to date.
In addition to Pacha’s performance, ­VIVA! is hosting a classic all-you-can-eat burger and hot dog barbeque starting at 7:30 p.m. The cost is $1 and all proceeds go to Habitat for Humanity.
The real fun begins at 8 p.m. when Pacha Massive hits the stage.