Music gets dressed up

Published: Jun 20, 2019, 07:00 IST | Shunashir Sen

A first-of-its-kind event marries hip-hop with cosplay where three gigs are interspersed with anime skits

Music gets dressed up
Madhura Rumde and Kalika Trinetra aka Shimono

It all started with a fan direct messaging a band on Instagram, and then a flash of memory. One and a half years ago, Mumbai-based artiste manager Madhura Rumde had started an online conversation with Moses Koul, founder of multi-genre outfit Kraken from Delhi. While talking, Rumde — a cosplay enthusiast — had casually suggested that Koul include elements of the art form at one of his gigs. That was that. The conversation lay dormant from there on. Until, it all came rushing back to Koul one day about two months ago when he was sitting in his studio, after Kraken had just finished fixing the nitty-gritties for a three-city tour. "Why not implement Madhura's suggestion?" Koul thought to himself. And so he gave Rumde a call, who connected with the country's relatively niche cosplaying community, and thus was born Appearance Disappearance, the first series of concerts in the country that will marry cosplay and live music.

Moses Koul

The Mumbai leg will be held this evening at a Lower Parel venue, after a show in Bangalore and a later one in Delhi. Three acts — Kraken, and hip-hop artistes Enkore and Hanumankind — are going to play a set each. In between their performances, a bunch of cosplayers will enact a real-life anime skit with an in-built narrative. Audience members will also be encouraged to dress up and take part in the live action. "The idea is that every city has its own story, and we have divided the shows across cities into three chapters, each of which has a theme that ties into one overarching story. Every gig is being hosted by a main character, a protagonist who will be in costume. So, it's going to be a travelling Cirque de Soleil of sorts," Koul says.

Amar Pandey, Suyash Gabriel, Vipul Verma, Reuben Das and Koul, the members of Kraken 

He adds that as far as the audience members are concerned, some people have already got in touch with the organisers saying that they will be dressing up as different anime characters, such as Fujita and Naruto. "That's brilliant because, see, people aren't really encouraged to cosplay. They aren't encouraged to wear whatever they want to. It might be a weird sweater that you always wanted to put on, but never had a place to go to because you were like, 'I don't think I can pull it off.' This then, is that safe space where you can be whoever you want to be," Koul explains.

Tanya Shringarpure aka Syrinx 

Rumde tells us on her part that cosplaying first surfaced as a hobby in India around six years ago. "Many of these cosplayers have day jobs, and do this as a side project. But even though it emerged as a hobby, it eventually stayed with a lot of them and that's how a community was built. These days, I see quite a few people who look at it less casually. They are trying to pursue it and develop it into a full-time thing," she says.

Tejal Mulik aka Purplepaw

That's where an event like this can lend a helping hand, Koul adds. The point, he explains, is that even though cosplaying and music might seem like inter-linked art forms — considering how songs are an integral part of anime shows and movies — the two communities function separately, at least in this country. But here, who knows? A lay music listener who comes for the event may get so taken in by all the people in costume that he might think, "Hey, this seems cool. Why don't I give it a shot too?" That will only help boost the numbers of the fledgling cosplay community, ensuring that one day, it's not restricted to events like Comic Con or cultural festivals held by, say, the Korean consulate. Koul says, "There are so many small communities existing in silos that the only way they can come to the forefront is when intersectional events are held, so that common fan bases can interact with each other and see whether they like a certain thing or not. It's like testing a fragrance at a shop. You won't know whether you like it or not unless you smell it."

ON Tonight, 7 pm
AT FLEA Bazaar Cafe, Trade View Building, Oasis Complex, Lower Parel.
Log on to
Entry Rs 350

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