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Yoko Kanno & Seatbelts

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The Seatbelts (also known as SEATBELTS or シートベルツ) is a / band led by composer and instrumentist Yoko Kanno. The name of the band, according to the fictional description given in the Japanese anime Cowboy Bebop, derives from how the performers wear seatbelts to be safe while they play hardcore jam sessions.

The band performed the whole soundtrack of the anime series Cowboy Bebop and produced a total of seven albums and one live DVD. Their style is very diverse and ranges from a straightforward to rock ‘n roll ballads.

Since the band is focused mostly on work, The Seatbelts have no lead singer. But Steve Conte (from The Contes and Crown Jewels) and Mai Yamane participate and sing in many of their songs. The lyrics of these songs are written mainly by Tim Jensen and Yoko Kanno herself. Singers Soichiro Otsuka and Gabriela Robin (rumored to be a psuedonym for Kanno) are responsible for the back vocals on songs such as “Blue”.

After a few years in hibernation, The Seatbelts have regrouped in 2004 to compose the soundtrack of the second Cowboy Bebop video game, which is currently available in Japan.

Many of the members of The Seatbelts have also worked with Kanno and with each other on other projects, as well, and some have even gone on to compose their own work. For example, guitarist Tsuneo Imahori also played guitar on the soundtracks for Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex and Wolf’s Rain (both of which were composed by Kanno), as well as composing the soundtracks for Trigun and Gungrave.

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