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Lykanthea Will Blow Your Mind With a Shruti Box

Lykanthea
Photo: Chelsea Ross

Humboldt Park resident Lakshmi Ramgopal has a doctorate in classics from the University of Chicago. When she isn’t working on her book about Roman imperialism, she plays music under the name Lykanthea. Next year, the 35-year-old will release her second EP, Some Viscera, which blends South India’s Carnatic music with Hindi, Sanskrit, and Tamil lullabies. She performs a preview August 9 at the Museum of Contemporary Art.

On being drawn to lullabies

“Since my grandmother passed away and my niece was born, I’ve been thinking about a lullaby’s resonance. In one sense it’s about helping someone go to sleep, but in another way I think it’s a conduit for cultural anxiety and knowledge.”

On changing instruments

“When I was playing a keyboard, I didn’t really feel what I was performing and singing. I’m now playing a shruti box, a traditional Indian instrument, which requires a lot of physical investment — you have to keep pumping its bellows to sustain it.”

On new relationships

“Falling in love over the last six months has been my defining moment this year. Some Viscera is ultimately about the different ways I have encountered love.”

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