Photo courtesy of James Wong
One of my favorite works of any genre–fine arts, performance arts, what-have-you–is Shinichir? Watanabe’s future-cowboy noirish anime Cowboy Bebob. I’m not going to get all gushy and fanboy-like telling you about how wonderful Bebop is, and why you should ignore the kinda silly name and rent it from Netflix right now–I’ll restrain myself to just saying that, if you like Joss Wheadon’s Firefly, you’ll almost certainly like Bebop. (Even if you don’t ordinarily like anime, which is the case with me.)
Our heroes (yes, even including Ein the Corgi)
One of the best things about Bebop is the tight fit between the music and the action, and that music is an absolutely astonishing mix of styles, from hip-hop influenced big band, to blues, to jazz, to rock, and even incorporating elements of world beat. And the creator of this astonishing array of sound is Japanese multimusicianal composer Yoko Kanno (pictured at the top of the post).
We’ve all been reading and listening to and watching the news about the horrific events in Japan. The worst devastation is in Miyagi prefecture, which is the home of Ms. Kanno. And it turns out that Kanno–who is massively successful in Japan, well beyond what we in the U.S. might expect of “a cartoon music composer”–has created and posted a song on YouTube in support of the victims. (And if you are interested in providing monetary support yourself, I’d like to suggest the International Red Cross.)
It’s always cool to find out that an artist you really like has, you know, a heart. Kudos to Ms. Kanno.