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Music: Yoko Kanno

"You have got to hear this shit. It's like she's hitting you over the head with a sock full of Jonny Quest!"
Alternate John Williams, John and Yoko

Yoko Kanno is a famous Japanese composer and musician, known primarily for her work on anime soundtracks. Her name being attached to a project has caused much rejoicing moments for many fans.

Born in Japan in 1964 and having began her career composing video game soundtracks in the late 1980s, she has written or otherwise contributed to the soundtracks of a large number of anime, including (but not limited to):

Besides soundtrack work for movies, TV, anime and video games, Kanno has occasionally ventured into pop music; she has released two solo albums, and has served as producer for several albums from other musicians (including writing at least four of Maaya Sakamoto's albums). She sometimes sings under the pseudonym of "Gabriela Robin", which for many years was her Secret Identity. She publicly revealed herself as Robin by singing one of Robin's songs at a venue that Robin was slated to perform at, though she has not otherwise publicly acknowledged the alias.

Kanno can write in any genre known to mankind - and even a few that haven't been invented yet. She is the master of the Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly. Surprisingly enough, she isn't a One Woman Band, something that would make her even more awesome. She is a keyboardist and frontwoman of SEATBELTS, a jazz fusion band created exclusively for the soundtrack to Cowboy Bebop.

Alternate Universe John Williams has a shrine dedicated to her. A slightly more in-depth biography can be found here, and a slightly more in-depth discography can be found here.

Not to be confused with Yoko Ono. Or Yoko Oh No: this one is more like "Yoko Hell Yeah".

Tropes associated with Yoko Kanno:

  • Genre Roulette: Cowboy Bebop's soundtracks are a perfect example of this. While the series' music is anchored around bebop and blues, Kanno spun the wheel and added hard rock, drum and bass, chiptune and hip hop to the score (not to mention several other forms of jazz than bebop.)
  • Gratuitous English: Her titles sometimes slip into Word Salad Title territory.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: SEATBELTS has 37 Japanese members, 19 American members, 7 French members and featured 18 guest vocalists. On the Seatbelts Live 2001@Shibuya AX disc included in the CD box set, 15 musicians and 6 vocalists are credited.
  • Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly
  • Production Posse: Kanno has a stable of singers that she recruits on a regular basis, including Steve Conte, Mai Yamane, Tim Jensen, Scott Matthew, Gabriela Robin and voice actress/singer Maaya Sakamoto. Sakamoto's own albums were written exclusively by Kanno for most of a decade as well.
    • Musicians within her circle include composer, cellist and former husband Hajime Mizoguchi; percussionist and beatboxer Masaharu Sato; percussionist Yasuo Sano; bass player Hitoshi Watanabe; guitarist Masayoshi Furukawa and guitarist Tsuneo Imahori (famous for the soundtrack to Trigun.) Many of these musicians are part of the band SEATBELTS. Tim Jensen has also engineered a few of her soundtracks, while Shiro Sasaki has produced several of them.
  • Secret Identity: Gabriela Robin. This was pretty much an Open Secret for years, though Kanno has not explicitly confirmed nor denied this. In 2009, she announced that Robin would perform in front of a live audience for the first time. During said concert, after conducting the orchestra, Kanno turned around and sung Robin's song "Moon" from ∀ Gundam. This was her only public acknowledgement of her secret identity.
  • Speaking Simlish: Kanno has written gibberish lyrics for several of her soundtracks and most of these are sung by Gabriela Robin. Her use of it in Macross Plus is credited to the Zentraedi race present in that work.
  • Word Salad Lyrics: When she writes lyrics, this can happen. And sometimes what sounds like word salad is actually a nonsense language. The Ghost in the Shell soundtrack in particular has a lot of this.
    • The big exception to this trope is her most famous piece, Cowboy Bebop's "Tank!"
    "I think it's time we blow this scene, get everybody and their stuff together. Okay 3 2 1, Let's Jam."


Yuki KajiuraComposersErich Wolfgang Korngold
Yuki KajiuraMusicians/RockThe Seatbelts

alternative title(s): Yoko Kanno
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