Avanna

Avanna is the session vocalist performing the song GPS Lady. Unlike other collaborators she is a computer programme, specifically: a "Vocaloid".

Vocaloids are virtual singers programmed like speech synthesizers with phonemes or word fragments from which can be constructed sung words and phrases. Vocaloids started out speaking Japanese, which is phonetically simpler and much more consistent than English. They quickly acquired fan clubs as do human vocalists. In particular Vocaloids achieved popularity for giving singing voices to anime computer animation characters with tolerable results because anime singing is high pitched, somewhat artificial and often manipulated with audio effects.

Achieving realistic results singing English in a straight folk music style has proved a greater challenge until the English company, Zero-G, produced Avanna. As you will hear from GPS Lady, Avanna is at least reasonably intelligible and at times aspires to sound almost like a real person, though such a result was only achieved after very detailed programming syllable by syllable.

Vocaloids have a way to go yet to achieve a convincingly simulated "human" performance. However, the efforts of Zero-G in producing Avanna give hope that such results will be achievable for a reasonably priced, accessible commercial product in the near future.

Listen to Avanna here.

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