By Angela Baldacci
Two weeks ago the Acabellas, an all-female student a capella group, released their first music video, a cover of “Quiet” by MILCK which had become the unofficial anthem for the Women’s Marches this January. The video is a compilation of footage from the Women’s March in Washington D.C. and of the Acabellas singing their original rendition. Only two weeks after the release, the video has more than 1,000 views on YouTube.
The song became representative of the Women’s March after videos of MILCK and the GW Sirens, an all-female a cappella group at George Washington University, performing at the demonstration went viral.
The song extends beyond being an anthem for the Women’s March, with its background reflecting complex layers of women’s rights. MILCK’s lyrics, “put on your face, know your place, shut up and smile, don’t spread your legs,” immediately establishes the song’s feminist theme. The essential message, that women must stand up and demand equal rights is conveyed through the chorus, “But no one knows me no one ever will, if I don’t say something, if I just lie still, Would I be that monster, scare them all away, If I let them hear what I have to say, I can’t keep quiet.”
Connie Lim, MILCK’s lead singer, is a 30-year-old singer and songwriter from Los Angeles. Her inspiration for the song was driven by feelings of trauma she faced struggling with domestic violence and anorexia when she was 14.
Jill Kahn, ’17, co-president of the Acabellas, and fellow Acabellas member Maddy Linden, ’18, participated in the Women’s March in Washington D.C., which essentially inspired the project. The group made the unanimous decision to pass on the song’s message to the St. Michael’s campus. “Every member of the group was on board and as passionate as we were,” said Kahn.
Although the Acabellas release videos from each of their concerts, this video is particularly momentous because it is the first genuine music video they have released. Kahn explained that the difference between this film and their previous ones is that this video gave them the opportunity to stand for something.
“The difference is that rather than getting our voices and song out there… we wanted to share a movement,” said Kahn.
Kelly Champlain, a student at Champlain College, produced the video. A communications major and girlfriend of one of the members of the Acabellas, Champlain filmed the Acabellas’ rendition and compiled it with Kahn and Linden’s photos and videos from the march.
“Kelly went above and beyond. We feel so much gratitude toward her,” said McKenzie Bergan, ’17, co-president of the Acabellas.
Throughout his book, Playing For Change, Rob Rosenthal discusses how music’s emotion evoking powers creates enormous potential for social change.
Kahn explained how the group would like to have a presence on social media to raise awareness, aiming to support both the Women’s March and gender equality through their music video.
“Our goal is to stand in solidarity with people… it is more than just music,” said Kahn.
However, in order to create concrete change, the Acabellas said that they realize there must be an element that extends beyond awareness. The Acabellas encourage participation in their fundraiser for HOPE Works, a local organization aiming to end all forms of sexual violence through healing, prevention and empowerment. A link to their fundraiser is included in the YouTube video’s description.
“At the end of the day, it is about the act of singing together,” Bergan said, explaining that the Acabellas’ community aspect creates a powerful support system.
“Personally, I think music has always had a huge effect, whether it’s a happy song to get me through the day or a sad song to cry at night,” Linden said.
With this video, the Acabellas said that they hope to convey to the St. Michael’s community that everyone has the opportunity to speak up on the national issue of unequal rights.
“We stand with women of all races, religions, ethnicities, sexual orientations, abilities, and ages. We stand with you,” reads the description of the video.“You are not alone.”