Yoko Kanno

jazz // funk // anime soundtrack

Yoko Kanno is the mind behind some of the finest anime music out there. Lucky for me, in college I lived down the hall from an anime fan. As the horns from the intro theme song to the popular Cowboy Bepop blared out, I crept down the hall to investigate. After falling in love with a dynamic and unpredictable arrangement, I delve deeper into the songwriter. I found a breadth of vocal and melodic writing in a wide span of genres. Below is a good sampling of her work:

A masterful execution across musical worlds.
The Seatbelts – Tank!
Yoko Kanno – Dreams In A Pie
Yoko Kanno – The Egg and You (ID’d by Tony Cabrera in Name That Artist #1)
buy this cd

23 Responses to “Yoko Kanno”

  1. Anonymous :

    Yoko Kanno is so amazing. It’s a shame more people outside of the anime community don’t know of her (or confuse her with Yoko Ono…..)

    I love her work from Wolf’s Rain, too.

  2. Carlo :

    Thanks for posting this! I’ve always liked Yoko Kanno’s Green Bird from Cowboy Bebop, but never explored her other songs.

  3. Miguel :

    Nice post, never heard Kanno’s material before. The Egg and You has a distinct Vince Guaraldi/Charlie Brown feel to it.

  4. Dgrador :

    It was Cowboy Bebop Winamp skin that got me curious. Great music taht covers an awful lot of ground without getting watered down.

  5. Anonymous :

    Not really my style, but thanx for lettin’ us know. Love your site.

  6. Keith :


  7. jeanphi :

    Hooray ! Yoko Kanno is, with Joe Hisaishi, one of my favorite japanese composers. Not only is she able to write some funfy stuff for Cowboy bebop, but she is also brilliant when it comes to matter like Wolf Rain.
    I can only recommend this website among others :
    for the people who want to get to know her work better.
    Thanks for the hightlight and for your work on this blog !

    A french fan

  8. Jacob :

    Shiny! I love how diverse the musical selection is on here. It’s great, just like Yoko Kanno. I’ve been a big Yoko Kano ever since Cowboy Bebop. Watching some of the other anime she’s worked on is worth it just for her music alone.

    Other favorite Japanese composers of mine are Yuki Kajiura, and Yasunori Mitsuda.

  9. Fedor :

    The piano theme from “The Egg and You” is pretty much similar to that from “la vie boheme” from musical RENT. At first I thought they are the same but finally realised the difference.

  10. Kadey :

    Nice selection of Kanno’s stuff!

    Also, FYI, the girl singing in “Dreams In a Pie” is named Maaya Sakamoto. I highly recommend her music, as a good majority of her songs are composed by Kanno as well.

  11. James :

    thanks for the tracks! i’ve only just stumbled across your blog, but I’m really glad I did! There’s another Yoko Kanno song here…http://www.howardwho.com/09-voices-acoustic-version.mp3

  12. insta :

    You never cease to excite me with your music picks. (and I’ve been coming to your site for 2 1/2 years) This entry happens to be just what the dr. ordered. Thanks for your dedication to sharing good sound.

  13. Gretar :

    She’s one of the most prolific music composers in Anime, and most of her stuff is fantastic. I’ve always been fond of Macross Plus and Escaflowne.

    The song on the end of the link James posted is from Macross Plus and is called “Voices”…

  14. Anonymous :

    You list three mp3’s but I can’t figure out which album they come from. Maybe it is three different albums?

  15. Paul Irish :

    Tank: Cowboy Bebop – The Best
    Dreams In A Pie: Dreams In A Pie
    The Egg and You: Cowboy Bebop V.2

  16. Anonymous :

    If you get the chance, check out the soundtrack work she did for Turn A Gundam and Brain Powerd. I’ve never seen the shows, but she pulls in a really strong Celtic influence there.

    Also, her work on the Macross Plus soundtrack (which is a good anime) sounds a lot like Copland.

    -bigbigtruck at LJ

  17. Paul Irish :

    bigbigtruck! awesome, thanks for coming by and dropping knowledge. I’ll definitely check those out. Cheers!

  18. Sabrina :

    I adore her so much. I can’t believe I went so long without loving her music. “Cyberbird” is my favorite.

  19. Anonymous :

    I’ve adored Yoko Kanno since a friend of mine gave me the soundtrack to Macross Plus. She’s incredible. One of my all time favorite song writers.
    If you ever get the chance you should hear the song Yuzuriha she wrote for the anime X.

  20. samejima :

    time2bewaltz is the best japanese lounge rap I have heard. nothing this lady writes is bad. she’s a total trip. i thought artistes like her went out in the 50s60s. thank the muses for her….

  21. Thea :

    her work for a movie called Honey and Clover soundtrack is very nice too!

  22. Spugly :

    Such a same most of her work is just a copy other others hard work

    see list

    for the songs that “InPIYER-ed” her work, IN fact her team as she is a “Project” more than one womans out put

    Nobunaga’s Ambition Zenkokuban/Sangokushi:
    When Seasons Change (Kisetsu no kawaru koro) ““> Gabriel Faur� �Pavane�
    Sengoku Gunyuuden – “Toki no Shirabe”, sung by Akino Arai

    Ishin no arashi:
    Triumphant Return (Gaisen) ““> Peter Tchaikovsky �Violin Concerto in D, 1st Mov�t�

    Daikoukaijidai II:
    Catalina ““> Billy Joel �Allentown�

    Napple Tale:
    A Stroll ““> Patrick Doyle �Willoughby� (from Sense and Sensibility)
    13 Ice Cream ““> Camille Saint-Saens �Carnival of the Animals: Finale�
    Dreams In A Pie ““> The Beatles �Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds�

    Macross Plus:
    Go Ri A Te ““> Ryuichi Sakamoto �Thousand Knives�

    Vision of Escaflowne:
    Dance of Curse ““> Carl Orff �Carmina Burana: O Fortuna�
    Revenge ““> Maurice Ravel �Bolero�
    Blaze ““> J.S. Bach �St. Matthew Passion: Chorus �Come ye daughters, share my mourning��

    Escaflowne Movie:
    S�ra�s Folktale ““> Bj�rk �All Is Full Of Love (Single Version)�

    Cowboy Bebop:
    Bad Dog, No Biscuit ““> Tom Waits �New Orleans Instrumental�
    Pot City ““> Angelo Badalamenti �Dub Driving� (from Lost Highway)
    Too Good, Too Bad ““> Herbie Hancock �Chameleon�
    You Make Me Cool ““> Harry Connick Jr. �Blue Light, Red Light (No One�s There)�
    Words That We Couldn�t Say ““> Sting �La Belle Dame Sans Regrets�
    Zodiac Sign ““> Imperial Drag “Want It All Back”
    Go Go, Cactus Man ““> Ennio Morricone �Main Theme� (from The Good, The Bad & The Ugly)
    *(Debatable, since this is clearly an intentional Morricone homage, but still, this is the theme she based it on)

    Call Me, Call Me ““> The Verve �Bittersweet Symphony�
    Black Coffee ““> Brigitte Fontaine �Comme a la Radio�
    On the Run ““> Pink Floyd �On the Run� *Probably also intentional, if she used the same title
    Papa Plastic ““> The Beatles �Come Together�
    Mushroom Hunting ““> DJ Food �Let the Good Shine�

    Cowboy Bebop Knockin� On Heaven�s Door:
    Ask DNA ““> Beck �Devil�s Haircut�
    Pushing the Sky ““> Lunatic Calm �Leave You Far Behind�
    Yo Pumpkin Head ““> Lou Bega �Mambo No.5�
    Powder ““> Steve Reich �The Desert Music: 1st Mov�t�
    Cosmic Dare (Pretty with a Pistol) ““> The Sugababes �Overload�
    Scott Matthew on “No Reply” – Skunk Anansie’s “Secretly”

    Brain Powered:
    Ark ““> Giuseppe Giordani �Caro Mio Ben�
    Crossing ““> Vangelis �End Title� (from Blade Runner)
    Prism ““> Alan Silvestri �Pseudopod� (from The Abyss)
    True Love ““> Passengers �Always Forever Now�
    Dear My Mother ““> Rogers & Hart �Isn�t It Romantic?�

    Turn-A Gundam:
    Pitiful Soshi� ““> Simon & Garfunkel �Scarborough Fair�
    Innocent Lie ““> Eric Serra �Fatal Weakness� (from Goldeneye)

    Resonance of the Earth ““> Russ Landau �Ancient Voices� (from Survivor)
    Sanctuary ““> (an 80�s Jpop song I heard once with the exact same antecedent melody phrase, but I can’t remember the title or artist! Maybe someone knows)

    Ghost in the Shell – Stand Alone Complex:
    Where Does This Ocean Go? ““> Bj�rk �Hyperballad�
    Fish ~ Silent Cruise ““> Craig Armstrong �Ruthless Gravity�
    Be Human ““> Spiritualized �Ladies and Gentlemen, We Are Floating In Space�
    Good By My Master ““> Craig Armstrong �Escape� (from Plunkett & Macleane)

    Wolf�s Rain:
    Heaven�s Not Enough ““> Craig Armstrong �Wake Up In New York�
    Face On ““> Craig Armstrong �Finding Beauty�

    Record of Lodoss War – Heroic Knight Legend:
    Sea of Miracles ““> Adiemus �Adiemus�

    Mizu no Onna:
    Searching for the Shadow of Umbrella ““> Maurice Ravel �String Quartet in F: 2nd Mov�t�

    Maaya Sakamoto:
    Alkaloid ““> The Beatles �Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite�
    Noon Snow ““>Frou Frou �Maddening Shroud�
    03 ““> Frou Frou �Old Piano

  23. Spugly :

    Still think Im wrong
    the see


    so ask your self do you still think the “Yoko Kanno Project” is so Original?

    Dont get me wrong this has been the way The advertising music work has worked for years
    with “likness” music one only needs to look
    at teh sound teck to American Beauty, how meny adds
    Cloned that sound.

    But this “team” have gone well over the line most of all
    with teh Jazz tacks. yes in Japanese music land it may seem cool but in the Big bad world out side makes you look like a Con Artist/

    shame realy I like some of the “cloned” tacks liuke Be Human and CyberBird