We Make Music With Our Mouths


Members of the Urban Knotes in Union Square on Valentine’s Day. Photo by My Nguyen.

Aca-scuse me? There’s a new crew at Academy of Art University. The voices of the Academy have come together to create an a cappella group. The Urban Knotes’ dedication is making sound waves through the Bay Area. These hard working singers spread smiles and laughter in Union Square during this past Valentines Day. On Saturday, February 14, the Urban Knotes’ arrangements of “Crazy in Love” by Beyoncé, “L.O.V.E.” by Nat King Cole, “Kiss the Girl” from Disney’s The Little Mermaid and “Ribbon in the Sky” by Stevie Wonder left couples flabbergasted.

After working so hard for a week, these aca people sang for the first time ever. While singing, they handed out roses to couples and even individuals. Powell St. was a scene from West Side Story. Singing and dancing turned the heads of people walking past them. “Right on,” and “You guys sound great,” were words of confidence to these aca people. “I was afraid to approach people and then have them deny us,” said Marrisa Felton, a member of the Urban Knotes. She said, “I didn’t want to mess up and I had to put my ear to people’s faces to reassure I got the notes right.”

After the walk on Powell St., the group ended their journey in Yerba Buena Park on Mission St. There the Urban Knotes sang for a few couples but ran into a man who opposed the singing. “What was the harm in letting us sing? I don’t get it,” Nayib Jean Baptiste, one of the members of the Urban Knotes, said. “But I still had fun.”

There will always be people who oppose certain things, however the important thing is to continue being dedicated to any art form you are passionate about, in this case bringing uplifting a capella to those milling around the city.

The Urban Knotes meet every Thursday from 7 p.m.–9 p.m. at 466 Townsend. During the meeting, they play singing and improv games, like Hotspot and I’m a Tree. While in rehearsal they learn to personalize mainstream songs. One of the songs that they are working on is the Ghostbusters theme song.

As the semester rolls on, the Urban Knotes continue to work towards their big showcase this May.