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Kala by M.I.A. (XL)

Born in London, Maya Arulpragasam was taken to her parents’ native Sri Lanka at the age of six months, only to relocate to Madras, India. During a return stay in Sri Lanka, civil war escalated to the point where she began to lose family and friends. She didn't see her Tamil Tiger father often throughout these years, but her life stabilized once she and her family made it back to London. Such ethnic credibility has tended to insulate her from the inevitable accusations of cultural tourism attendant on the eclectic global village world music styles(s) she practices. She was all over the internet with her 2005 debut Arular, and has now consolidated her position with the even more wildly anarchic Kala. With samples from Jonathan Richman’s ‘Roadrunner’ on ‘Bamboo Banga’, Pixies’ ‘Where Is My Mind’ on ‘20 Dollar’, and The Clash’s ‘Straight to Hell’ on ‘Paper Planes’ (all of which may or may not say something about colonisation and cultural re-appropriation) M.I.A.’s (as she is now known) collaborators here include Aboriginal schoolboy crew Wilcannia Moband and the ubiquitous Timbaland. A brave woman this, and not one to fold in the face of a little negative criticism, you can check out the respectful irreverence of her cross-cultural mixings (and have a good time) at her hotly anticipated Dublin show (The Marquee, Phoenix Park, Dec. 7th).

First published in Magill, December/January 2007/8


















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