I think it's no secret at this point that I love a good geeky cover song and some cosplay. YouTube is filled with musicians doing really cool things with video game, film, and TV show music and getting tons of hits for it. Now, Stan Lee's YouTube channel World of Heroes is launching a new series dedicated to just that. Cosplay Piano features pianist/arranger Sonya Belousova performing pop culture music while cosplaying. The production values are really high and the results are very entertaining.
The debut episode features The Walking Dead theme originally composed by Bear McCreary, Steven Kaplan, and Michael J Beach. Sonya wakes up in an abandoned hospital right when the zombie apocalypse begins. She finds a wrecked piano--scratched with torn off facing and missing keys--and hammers out a really impressive arrangement of the theme.
The zombies begin to stalk her, only pausing when their leader is confronted with a violin. She (Eriko Tsuji) tentatively scratches at the worn strings before taking over the melody. The only thing stopping Sonya from being destroyed by the creatures is the rhythmic duet she leads with the walking dead.
The action inside the hospital is presumably one of those great The Walking Dead flashback sequences. The footage is inter-spliced with shots of Sonya on top of a hill playing a much nicer piano. She's dressed like she's ready to work on the farm, sword harnessed over her shoulder as the zombies wander aimlessly around the abandoned hospital. She is strong there, more determined, ready to take on the world after her near-death experience.
I cannot say enough good things about the quality of the arrangement. I've had to condense a lot of intricate string arrangements to keyboard in my day (thanks, low-budget educational theater productions) and it is no easy task. Sonya Belousova takes it a step further. Her arrangement takes the moderato looping of the full orchestral arrangement of "Walking Dead Theme" to a frantic allegro. Where the original version is brooding, Belousova's version is panicked. There is no time to rest when your life can be taken at any moment and this cover screams desperation and fear.
I've embedded the first episode of Cosplay Piano below. You can find out more information about Sonya Belousova's music at her homepage and subscribe to Stan Lee's World of Heroes at YouTube. Share your thoughts on the new series below.