Yoko Kanno

Yoko Kanno is a Japanese composer, arranger and music producer who is widely regarded as one of the most versatile and influential artists in the anime music industry. She has created soundtracks for various anime series, video games, television dramas and movies, spanning a range of genres and styles, from jazz and classical to electronic and rock.

Kanno was born in 1963 in Sendai, Japan, and began composing at a very young age. She studied literature at Waseda University, where she also played keyboards in a band called Tetsu 100%. She started her professional career as a composer for video games by Koei in 1985, and later branched out into pop music, working with singers such as May’n and Maaya Sakamoto.

Kanno’s breakthrough as an anime composer came in 1994, when she collaborated with her then-husband, Hajime Mizoguchi, on the score for Please Save My Earth. She then went on to score the music for very well-known anime series such as Cowboy Bebop, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Wolf’s Rain, and Darker than Black. Her work has led her to collaborate with orchestras like the Israel Philharmonic and the Warsaw Philharmonic. She also serves as the keyboardist and frontwoman for the band the Seatbelts.

Some of Kanno’s most famous soundtrack themes include “Kiseki no Umi” (Lodoss War), “Voices” (Macross Plus), “Tank!” (Cowboy Bebop), “Yakusoku wa Iranai” (Escaflowne), “Gravity” (Wolf’s Rain), and “Inner Universe” (Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex). She is also known for her collaborations with vocalists, such as Gabriela Robin (one of Yoko Kanno’s pseudonyms), Steve Conte, Origa, and Ilaria Graziano, who often sing in different languages.

Kanno is widely praised for her ability to create music that matches the mood, atmosphere, and theme of the anime she works on, as well as for her originality, creativity, and diversity. Her works has earned her several awards and honors for her music, such as the Tokyo Anime Award (in 5 different years) and the Asian Film Critics Association Awards. She is often considered a genius and a legend by fans, critics, and fellow musicians, and has influenced many other composers and artists in the anime music scene and beyond.

Yoko Kanno Music Sampler

Yoko Kanno’s Recent Releases