|Kanno Yoko With Rat by Love-ROKKUGO|
Yoko Kanno is an amazing musician and composer best known for some incredible musical scores for some of the most popular anime series.
In many of the tracks that contain vocals the name Gabriela Robin appears in the credits.
Sometimes Kanno denies she and Gabriela Robin are the same persons, or used to. The who truth about it is wonderfully ambiguous. It reminds me a lot of Andy Kaufman's Tony Clifton.
The Macross Plus soundtrack was my first exposure to the amazing music. And the music was the strongest element to that series, in my opinion. I grabbed up all I could find from that show. Cowboy Bebop is what brought it home for me. Another collection of albums for my library.
There is a website dedicated to the question- Who is Gabriela Robin. Check it out here.
As many fans would have known by now, Kanno has indirectly admitted that she is Gabriela Robin during the July 7, 2009 Superdimensional Tanabata Sonic concert, where she personally sang "Moon" in front of many people, and she sounded just like Robin. We will maintain the rest of this page (after this paragraph) as it has been for documentation purposes. Besides, Kanno might just have been doing a very good imitation of this Gabriela Robin person for all we know!
The answer to this age-old question can't be found in this website, but we do have the age-old (but still unproven) answer! ^__^
For some of us, her denial is itself an evidence. Why would she not reveal who the real one is otherwise? Quoting from an interview in www.ex.org :
EX: In the liner notes of MACROSS PLUS Original Soundtrack Plus: For Fans Only, Gabriela Robin wrote, "I was astonished by the presence of darkness, hidden beneath myself." Why do you think she said that?Yoko Kanno similarly dodges questions about her ability to sing to further avoid the Gabriela Robin question.
KY: (laughs) What do I think? I'm not Robin, so I don't know. (laughs)
EX: Do you feel the same way as she does?
KY: When I'm asked such questions, [In English] "No comment." (laughs)
You've done a lot of compositions, have you ever sung vocally yourself in the past or on any of your songs?Does Kanno sing?
YK: Uh, me? I can't tell you. [laugh] It's top secret. Just imagine.
- Shinichirou Watanabe, director of the animation Cowboy Bebop, designed a character in the animation after Yoko Kanno. The character is Ed, and peculiarly, she sings a lot of non-sensical songs reminiscent of Gabriela Robin.
- This drawing of Maaya Sakamoto, her protégé, depicts Kanno singing.
- One of Kanno's colleagues has also slipped, probably not knowing that it was supposed to be some sort of a secret. Here's an excerpt from an interview with Steve Conte which he has sent to his band's mailing list:
> 5. Could you describe us the different steps of a recording sequence with Yoko Kanno ?
She usually sends me an mp3 of the song with her singing the melody (she is very shy about her voice but it's REALLY cute!) and i learn the basics...
(full interview transcript in ForFansOnly Yahoo! Groups Files section)
- Most importantly, her name has been credited in Hajime Mizoguchi's album entitled "Aqua Colors in Paris" as one of the vocalists. It's the second track entitled "Shadows and Light". www.archcello.com
- The site of GrandFunk.com, a company that Kanno works for, has also credited her to singing a handful of commercials. Go to the site: www.grandfunk.net go to the CMs, then to the SA index, then to the Shiseido Commercial that has a pink bottle in it, and another with the girl in front of red flowers in it.
Aside from all these, there are also discrepancies in different publications as to who sang what. Most notable of which is in the Macross Plus CDs wherein the vocal performance for Santi-U is credited to Robin, while in the movie ending credits, it is given to Kanno herself.
- Kanno has also said in a Newtype interview that she wrote the lyrics to Santi-U, but in the CD, the credits are given to Robin.
- In an interview from the magazine Japan Vibes, she slips further by replying positive to a loaded question about her writing the non-sense lyrics in her songs:
JV: The colour of language also seems to be important in your work. You don't hesitate to use French (Macross Plus) or Russian (GITS SAC), and even to invent new languages (Macross plus, Escaflowne) to illustrate your music.- And another from Ex.org:
YK: It's a very personal question. All I can say is that I don't speak any languages except English that I learned working in studios. If I like music, it's because it can express as many emotions as words, and perhaps more... So, when I lack words in Japanese to express a feeling, I look for another language. And if I don't find one with the correct colour, then I create a new one.
(full interview transcript can be found in The Yoko Kanno Database)
EX: What languages did you use for "Medicine Eater, "Cat's Delicacy," and "Arcadia"?
YK: Hmm ... which language ... There is only the image of someone swallowing medicine. (laughs) For "Cat's Delicacy," the image of a golden-haired lady. As for "Arcadia" ...
EX: Is it Latin?
YK: There is the image of Latin, but the atmosphere of ESCAFLOWNE is an otherworldly one. It's really not Latin at all.
EX: What languages did you use for "After, in the dark," "Torch song," "SANTI-U," "Pulse," "A Sai En," and "Wanna Be an Angel"? They're not real Earth languages, right?
YK: No, they're not real Earth languages. (laughs)
(full interview transcript can be found in ex.org)
Interviews with Colleagues
This is an excerpt of an interview with Mai Yamane taken from Animeland Issue 87, December 2002 - January 2003. She answers more gracefully than Kanno herself!
AL: One very important question: can you tell us who Gabriela Robin is, this mysterious person who sings and writes some lyrics of songs for Yoko Kanno?Shanti Snyder
YM: (she’s thinking!) Hmm... It's someone who exists, but it seems there is some kind of secret... Why? Do you talk about this in France too?
AL: In fact, we would like to know too... And if she is Yoko Kanno in reality?
YM: Ahaha... In my opinion, only God knows this person...
AL: I feel we are not going to know more...
(full interview transcript can be found in ykdb.webhop.net, resources > interviews > Mai Yamane)
This one is an e-mail interview of Shanti Snyder taken by Grey Archangel, another Gabriela/Kanno enthusiast:
Me: So...about this Gabriela Robin person...Ilaria Graziano
Shanti: That should remain forever, a mystery....
Me: A mystery...I thought so. But I really prefer to keep it that way. Although, can you, uh, relay a message for me to her? ...[ ]*... You can do it. It's that Shantiness of yours.
Shanti: OK. But I'll have to use space mail to get to her , you know, she doesn't live on this planet.... She lives with some cats. Some say on mars (smile)
* The [ ]s contain Grey Archangel's note to Gabriela Robin.
And here's another interview from Ilaria Graziano. So, she's seen Gabriela? Wow, then she's the first person to say so! :
Q5: Can you confirm if Gabriela Robin is Yoko's nickname? (:p)Savin Yeatman-Eiffel
IG: I don't think so! I met Gabriela one time, she's a really nice person. I think all the people that I met from Yoko, all the musicians, are fantastic people.
(full interview transcript can be found in ykdb.webhop.net, resources > interviews > Ilaria Graziano)
This one is from Savin Yeatman-Eiffel, director of Oban Star Racers:
dvdrama: Will you answer to the question everyone is asking for : Are Yoko Kanno and Gabriela Robin the same person?Hajime Mizoguchi
Savin: I know a lot of things, but I must keep the secret. I won’t say anything, even under torture ! (laugh)
(partial interview transcript can be found in ykdb.webhop.net)
Mizoguchi is Kanno's former husband and a fellow composer, and he has not been spared from the issue. Apart from Kanno's works, it is only in his albums that Gabriela Robin has made an appearance. When confronted with the issue, he regularly replies that it is "a trade secret", as he does when people sends him e-mails to his official site.
Points of comparison:
- In the Cowboy Bebop Session #0 DVD, you can compare Kanno's voice in the staff interview wherein she was talking simultaneously with "Cats on Mars" playing in the background. That song has vocals credited to Robin.
- Go to the GrandFunk website and listen to the songs whose vocals are credited to Kanno. www.grandfunk.net Go to CM > Sa > Shiseido
- Go to www.archello.com click on the Gallery link at the left frame, then click the Solo works on the right frame. Choose Aqua Colors in Paris, and there is a sample there of Shadows and Light, whose vocals are credited to Yoko Kanno.
Gabriela Robin Sightings?
As in the above interviews, Ilaria Graziano has said that she has seen Gabriela. But so far, no one has made the claim that she is Gabriela Robin, nor do we have any pictures of her. In fact, in live performances that called Robin to be present on stage, she was replaced by other vocalists. And in all of these cases, Kanno was present as an instrumentalist.
- Wuyontana has replaced Robin in the live performance of "China" on the soundtrack of the NHK China special.
- Origa has replaced Robin in the Turn-A Gundam Concert for the song "Moon".
- Maaya Sakamoto, in the live concert of Cowboy Bebop, sang "Cats on Mars" and the chorale part of "Blue" in Robin's stead.
- In the Cowboy Bebop song "Chicken Bone", the performance is credited to "Sydney and Sister R". 'Sydney' is obviously Sydney Thiam and 'Sister R' could be Gabriela, under the name 'Sister R(obin)'. This hypothesis came from the observation that the vocalist sounds like Gabby Robin, whose voice we are very familiar with.
- In the ending theme of Oban Star Racers "Waratteta", the singer is credited to "sukoshi", but it sounds like Gabriela, and has been credited to Gabriela in the Victor Website. The credit is given to "sukoshi" in the CD jacket.
- Some person for whatever reason actually made a "This is Gabriela Robin" rumor. This one is quite interesting. Open this site and click on the link that says "Yoko Kanno is NOT Gabriela Robin, as previously speculated".
This is obviously a hoax. 1) Look at the ticket and ask yourself, "since when was Gabriela Robin popular enough to headline a Seatbelts concert?" 2) The picture of the girl shows not a single Seatbelt on the background. That itself is sufficient ground to doubt the veracity of the picture. 3) No publication of the concert is available. With the number of Gabriela Robin fans around, this concert must have made a buzz in the anime music community.
The Sharon Apple Theory
It is recommended that you watch Macross Plus before you read on, because this contains spoilers.
The Sharon Apple Theory is a theory independently formed by several viewers of Macross Plus who happen to be fans of Robin. Simply put, it states that the relationship that Yoko Kanno has with Gabriela Robin is the same one that Myung has with Sharon Apple. While this idea seems far-fetched to some, one may well note that Gabriela Robin first appeared in the Macross Plus OST. And knowing that Kanno works on storyline and imagery as a musical directive, it is possible that she got the idea to create Robin from the story of Macross Plus.The similarities are quite uncanny. Yoko and Myung are both producers to these pseudo-human singers who soon gain quite a following because of their trance-like voices synthesized by computers. And while they provide the singing voice of these performers, they do not get direct credit from it. Aside from that, their recording companies seem to be ensigned on the secrecy.
The rest of the theory and its implications are numerous, and is left for your own analysis (or imagination!).
The Origa Connection
Isn't it slowly unfolding before us? Origa has revealed that Kanno has taken her as an inspiration to singing non-sensical songs! Read in this interview in AnimeGuide, originally in Russian, translated by roxfan:
AnimeGuide: I can feel you're good friends. That non-existing language that you both use - it first appeared in Kanno's soundtrack for Macross Plus, right?
Origa: There's a whole story about that cryptic language. We're very alike in this. One time, around ten years ago, she asked me how I write music. I explained that first I devise the music and then sing it in that made-up language. That had probably attracted her and many of her songs, if you know, are in some odd language.
(full interview transcript can be found in ykdb.webhop.net, originally in Russian from AnimeGuide.)
...and who is David?
Yeah, that guy the song "The Borderline" is dedicated to. Probably he knows the answer to our question. :)
*scanned by Grey Archangel
Once more, we don't have hard proof that Yoko Kanno, or anyone else, is Gabriela Robin. Personally, I don't even want to know who she really is. I'd hate the day that someone would come out, confess and sing live in that mysterious voice. It takes the magic out of it, right? ;)
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(warning, the above button will expand this post with extensive information about Gabriela Robin!)
Here's more about the name Robin...
linkOn October 4, Japan's Center for Performers' Rights Administration posted an interview with acclaimed anime soundtrack composer Yoko Kanno. The interviewer noted that the name "Gabriela Robin" is used in the credits for many lyrics and vocals in Kanno's work. Kanno responded that the first time she recorded with an orchestra was in Israel, and at the time, the Prime Minister of Israel was Yitzhak Rabin. "That's all there is to it," she laughed.Kanno is known for composing the soundtracks for Macross Frontier, Cowboy Bebop, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Escaflowne, and many other works. She first recorded with an orchestra when she wrote music for Macross Plus which the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra performed. In past interviews, Kanno would half-jokingly deny that she is Robin.