By turns gentle, frightening, and humorous, the lullaby becomes a subject of experimentation for Lykanthea’s Lakshmi Ramgopal. In a dreamy evening performance of traditional Tamil songs and her own original pieces, Five Lullabies by Lykanthea explores the genre as a conduit for handing down knowledge, and with it, childhood, loss, and sleep. She will be accompanied by cellist Lia Kohl.
Library Experimental is an ongoing series focusing on Chicago’s experimental musicians. It is happening at the Chicago Public Library in Jefferson Park on Thursday, July 5 from 7-7.30pm.
The fifth installment of the 2018 season features is split into two performances. The first of which will be a special evening event featuring Lykanthea! The show will begin promptly at 7pm, so please arrive a little before then.
Free! Kid friendly! If the kids are patient!
Jefferson Park library is located at 5363 W Lawrence. Convenient to both bus and blue line. https://www.chipublib.org/locations/38/
Over the last four years, the work of Lykanthea’s Lakshmi Ramgopal has transformed from explorations of electro-ambient pop idioms into expansive performances and installations. Her debut EP Migration garnered praise from Noisey, Chicago Tribune, and Public Radio International’s The World for its alchemy of synths, catchy melodies, and Carnatic improvisatory techniques. The record led to a European tour, Leipzig’s Wave-Gotik Treffen, and an opening performance for the 50th anniversary celebrations of Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art, where she shared a bill with Billy Corgan, Lupe Fiasco, and Jamila Woods. Amid all this, while completing her PhD, she teamed up with Paula Matthusen to create Prex Gemina, a sound installation for the American Academy in Rome’s show Cinque Mostre.
Since the death of her grandmother and birth of her niece last year, Ramgopal has turned her attention to atavistic questions of motherhood and personal legacy. Her sound installation Maalai, which appears this summer the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art, explores the histories of women in her family and the contemporary practice of Hinduism in domestic spaces using real and fabricated audiovisual records. With A Half-Light Chorus, which Experimental Sound Studio commissioned this year for its Florasonic series, she considers memory and kinship with an installation in Chicago’s Lincoln Park Conservatory featuring vocalists imitating the calls of birds from India and Sanskrit literature. This new body of work joins multidisciplinary ensemble shows that herald a shift in Ramgopal’s storytelling—one that eschews cold electronics and embraces the warmth of the sruti box, unprocessed vocals, and performance art and dance.
These journeys find a home in Ramgopal’s follow-up to Migration, which is due later this year. A study in the search for renewal after loss, hope mingles with despair in her new record. In Lykanthea lies the eternal possibility of transformation and rebirth.