Five minutes prior to a performance, 11 audacious girls put nervousness aside; and while tuning their instruments, tune into the same frequency.
Backstage, they diligently guard their instruments, keep spare guitar picks and violin bow strings at hand, reassure each other, and of course utter their very own secret word which dispels all nervousness. After all, picking songs which not only appeal to their audience while lending themselves to arrangements for a combination of four violins, two guitars, a cello, a piano, drums, rhythm and vocals, is not an easy task.
Add to this the influences of Coldplay, Aerosmith, Guns and Roses, Boyce Avenue, David Garrett, Adele, Orianthi, and Van Halen, and the performance by the 11 promises to be a bold one, and it is not surprising that their song choice and performance styles have led these girls to call themselves ‘Audacity.’
Audacity, with members from the ages of 15- 19, features Sushmita Wijayaratna, Suhashana Wijayaratna, Sachiko Jayarathne, Rushenka Jayasuriya, Amitha Pilapitiya, Tihara Gunawardena, Anoushka Tissera, Lydia Goonetilleke, Suhanya J de Saram, Chanally Hemantha and Keshana Ratnasingha of Ladies College, Colombo.
“When we started off in 2010,” recalls 19 year old Sachiko Jayarathne- the Lead Guitarist of the group, “we had only five people; and it was last year that we decided to expand and add variety to our set of instruments, so the current band has been together since 2011. We’ve also performed before at school functions, but the first time we performed outside of school was at a school band concert organized by Bishops College in March this year.
The only female group to perform at the event, Audacity had been commended by judge Gayan Perera as being ‘mind blowing.’
“What is most important to us,” says Sachiko, “is to be able to play like we fit together and sound like we complete each others’ parts. The biggest challenge would obviously be to come to a level where we can perform without a single mistake. And to overcome this, the only thing we can do is to practice every minute we get and hope for divine intervention on the day of our performance. So this would mean bothering our teachers, getting permission to cut classes, and not to mention, carrying the enormous drum set to every available practice location!”
The band members agree however, that every challenge thrown at them comes with an opportunity; and that without the pressure of challenge, their progress would come to a grinding halt.
Each of the 11 have dramatically different tastes and performance styles, and a great deal of time is taken in choosing songs everyone is comfortable with- songs which enable the performers to not only connect with the audience but through their contrasts, connect with each other on stage.
“The best part of the experience is that point of the performance when you know you have succeeded in making that connection and that the audience is responding to it,” says Sachiko. “The rush of happiness we feel is simply amazing.”
Constantly inspired by their friends and their friendships within the band, these daring performers agree wholeheartedly that some of the best times they have shared are at their nine hour Sunday practice sessions. “I know it all sounds very cliché,” says Sachiko, “but it is true. We have some awesome memories of the many rounds of laughter, the snapping of guitar strings, the doughnuts, the lame jokes, the endless gossip sessions, the countless mistakes, the super lame nicknames, but mostly, the unbreakable bond between us.”
“We are not sure if this will be our last year performing together,” she continues, “because we each have our individual plans, but that makes this year of performance all the more special.”
The band wishes to thank the Principal of Ladies College, and also their teacher Ms. Indira and their parents for all the endless support and encouragement.