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Cayetana: Three Arrows of Friendship.

September 12, 2013

CayetanaOnPage01SmallText by Brittany Thomas. Top image by Krtistin Guessford. Bottom images by Jessica Flynn.

If one were seeking a female, indie-punk band representative of the real, raw, 21st century 20-something woes and wows of life, Cayetana would be the go-to.

This three-piece, South Philadelphia, Vespariding gang is a charming group of gal pals with a sweet demeanor off-stage. On stage, vocalist Augusta Koch, drummer Kelly Olsen and bass player Allegra Anka are a boisterous force to be reckoned with.

“The running theme of our music, I guess, is life,” says Koch, who also plays guitar. “Being alone, dealing with change, being stressed out, friendship, Philadelphia.”

As one fan once told them, they sound something like “if Alanis Morissette fronted a punk band.” But Koch’s vocals are a tough thing to pin down – she definitely has her own unique cadence for words. The band’s music as a whole forces listeners to let go of that desire to name an influence and instead invites them to just give Cayetana their full, undivided attention.

“I wouldn’t know how to describe us,” says Koch. “Someone once said we sounded like a Seattle band. I don’t know what that sounds like. We sound like rain?”

After a few months of sporadic local shows, including opening for The Thermals in May, Cayetana played a volunteer show to raise funds for Ladyfest Philadelphia – the local version of an annual music festival that was started in Olympia, Washington by Sleater Kinney and friends in 2000. Cayetana then took on a 10-day tour across the Midwest in August with Philly indie postpunk band Ma Jolie. Part of the tour included a show at Weapons of Mass Creation, a combined graphic design/music fest in Cleveland, where Braid and The Appleseed Cast also performed.

Despite having a fairly rapid success story since their formation in September of 2011, Cayetana is still moving forward with modesty as they work out kinks in their sound, developing their self-taught instrumental skills and writing and recording their first full-length album on a friend’s record label, Tiny Engines.

“The highlight for us so far, besides becoming really good friends, has been The Thermals show at Union Transfer,” says Koch. “That was crazy because we made a joke and said, ‘Well, we’re not going to play any shows unless The Thermals play,’ and then we got asked to play! It was so scary but so great! It was like Hogwarts in there and we didn’t really know how to sound check. That was funny. Everyone thought we were really lame.”

Trial-and-error music-making has lead the members of Cayetana to an inspiring friendship, where practice is fun, writing is natural and every show is an exciting new experience.

As a testament to their camaraderie, in July, the girls all got matching tattoos – a bundle of three arrows, representing their friendship.

“You don’t always get a group of people where everyone wants to put in the same amount of work,” says Anka. “I think that we work so well because we are all equally dedicated to getting better and not letting each other down. We have this really good momentum where we are all on the same page. It’s really nice, very satisfying.”

Cayetana will spend the fall recording their debut album (they released a demo EP last year). You’ll likely catch them riding scooters, playing shows, working and hanging out around the city.

“In the last few years, female musicians have been popping up out of nowhere in Philadelphia,” says Koch. “This is the most fun ever – to just hang out with girlfriends and talk about music. There’s a lot of great girl bands in Philly, and a lot of just great girls.”

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