Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Sri Lankan switcheroo

OK, today I was ready to sing the praise of the new Beck release, Guero. But I can't do it. Not because it's not good, but because I can't listen to it yet... I just can't interrupt my listening to M.I.A.'s Arula, released last week (after much delay.)

Maya Arulpragasam, AKA M.I.A., is a Sri Lankan-born, London-raised musical and visual artist. But before you let the words 'world music' run wild in your head, stop. She has more in common with Missy Elliott then Zap Mama - just listen to these lyrics on "Fire Fire":
Click suits and booted in the timberland/Freakin out to a Missy on a Timbaland
With a style as distinct as Dizee Rascal, only more accessible, M.I.A. throws a mish-mash of hip-hop, chunky electro beats and tribal cadence with a mix of politics and sexuality we haven't seen in some time. A lot of anticipation in the music community for this one after releasing the great singles "Galang" and "Sunshowers", and then pirating out the vocals for a mash-up with Diplo (Piracy Funds Terrorism) all last year. But much of the anticipation is in how the public will receive it. It's much more accessible then the other London rap exports Mike Skinner (The Streets) and (Dizee Rascal) but still is enigmatic enough for the US consumer to go 'whadafu*k?'

Much of the interest stems from Maya herself. She's a visual artist and party girl in the London scene, and has a much-repeated background. The album title, Arular, is her father's nickname (meaning "the ruler") given to him by the guerilla rebel faction he co-founded in Sri Lanka (the Tamil Tigers.) Being the daughter of a Sri Lankan rebel affords her lyrics like:
I've got the bombs to make you blow/ I've got the beats to make you bang

8 comments:

drake leLane said...

M.I.A. - Arular
"Banana Skit" - M.I.A.
"Pull Up The People" - M.I.A.
"Bucky Done Gun" - M.I.A.
"Sunshowers" - M.I.A.
"Fire, Fire" - M.I.A.
"Dash The Curry" - M.I.A.
"Amazon" - M.I.A.
"Bingo" - M.I.A.
"Hombre" - M.I.A.
"One For The Head Skit" - M.I.A.
"10 Dollar" - M.I.A.
"Pause" - M.I.A.
"Galang / M.I.A." - M.I.A.
"Do Ya' (Exclusive)" - M.I.A.

Anonymous said...

Very nice - Just started listening to it - Thought she was Indian till I ran into your site. Thanks for the info.

Michael N. said...

Her father was a member of the Tamil Tigers, not a founder. He cofounded the Eelam Revolutionary Organization of Students, the Youth Group of the Tamil Tigers

omniscient said...

Do you think it's "cool" what the Tamil Tigers are doing? Do you know anything more then what Wikipedia says about them?
If they were in your backyard beating your parents and forcing you to blow yourself up you might think differently. You might want to find out what M.I.A. is truly advocating rather then being a supporter of terrorism and organized crime.

drake lelane said...

I don't believe she supports the Tamil Tigers, but instead has a romanticized relationship, given it's her estranged father. This piece is nearly four years old, so it feels silly to comment on other than to point to a more recent piece here which examines the relationship a bit further (Music of Slumdog Millionaire).

But if it's old pieces you want to look at, go straight to critic Robert Christgau's piece from around the same time, which deals with the subject better than I could hope to do.

Anonymous said...

no lie shes a killa artist who knows exactly what shes singing about. She knows the deal, and its unfortunate that no one else does--reality check 101 she can support whatever she pleases no doubt this is something, she knows is right. Tamil tiger or not, its all one message!

Tamil till I die said...

In response to all the comments above: I am a young tamil student born in the UK. But I have family that has been killed by the Sri Lankan Government.They have bombed over 10 hospitals,and killed over 100,000 tamils. The tamil tigers formed long after the beginning of the genocide of tamils. The Tigers are not terrosits, they are the only voice for our tamils back at home.

They do not rape young women, abort unborn children, torture the elderly like the SriLankan government have done.

PLEASE HELP US TO URGE FOR AN IMMEDIATE CEASEFIRE IN SRI LANKA AND STOP THE GENOCIDE OF TAMILS!

Tamil till I die said...

In response to all the comments above: I am a young tamil student born in the UK. But I have family that has been killed by the Sri Lankan Government.They have bombed over 10 hospitals,and killed over 100,000 tamils. The tamil tigers formed long after the beginning of the genocide of tamils. The Tigers are not terrosits, they are the only voice for our tamils back at home.

They do not rape young women, abort unborn children, torture the elderly like the SriLankan government have done.

PLEASE HELP US TO URGE FOR AN IMMEDIATE CEASEFIRE IN SRI LANKA AND STOP THE GENOCIDE OF TAMILS!