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M.I.A. is UK singer/rapper Maya Arulpragasam. Her 2005 debut album Arular unleashed her devastating dislocated beats, pounding basslines and chant-along vocals. M.I.A.'s unparalleled mongrel mix of hip-hop, ragga, dancehall, electro and punk saw Arular garner praise from far and wide, including being short listed for the Mercury Music Prize. In the USA M.I.A. signed with Interscope and hit the road opening for Gwen Stefani. M.I.A. is now set to release her second studio album, Kala. Amazing talent join forces with her on the new album, including Diplo, Timbaland, DJ Blaqstarr, Three 6 Mafia and producer, Switch.
Maya Arulpragasam, the British-based daughter of Sri Lankan refugees, delivered one of 2005's eye-popping debuts, Arular. For an album that proudly flaunted tin-can production, indecipherable South London slang, and lyrical nods to suicide bombers, it brought the woman who records under the name M.I.A. unexpected mainstream success--she followed its release by touring North America with Gwen Stefani and recording with Missy Elliott and Timbaland, while the single "Galang" made its way into a car commercial. Kala (the first release was named after her freedom-fighting father, this one after her mother) throws Arulpragasam's newfound pop credentials into the bustle of Bollywood rhythms, police sirens, 8-bit dancehall beats, Third World car horns, and street singers. Recorded across several continents, it presents a far more dynamic listening experience than her first album, especially with tracks like "Bamboo Banga," "Jimmy," and "Paper Planes." It's no less exhausting, though. What with the New Order sample, Timbaland cameo, and gunshot sound effects, there isn't a moment when it doesn't feel like you've unintentionally invited an entire carnival into your home. --Aidin Vaziri
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Top Customer Reviews
Her 2005 debut album "Arular" proved an electric shock to the system, its ballsy mashup of street styles and pop hooks earning a Mercury nomination in U.K.
Mia's new album "Kala" is named after her mother, but like "Arular" it mixes up musical ideas from around the world and crams them into a club- and radio-friendly collage of tunes.
This CD drives her music in even more intrepid directions
In fact this time, rather than work with British producers such as Steve Mackey of Pulp and the pop guru Richard X, MIA travelled widely to authentically capture the world music that intrigues her.
The result is fantastic.
"Birdflu" features the sound of traditional Indian drummers, whom MIA recorded on a trip to the sub-continent last year.
"Down River" throbs with didgeridoo she recorded at a workshop for aboriginal children in Australia. The tribal pound of "Hussel", meanwhile, was recorded with a Nigerian-born London-based rapper, African Boy.
Whereas "Arular" was dominated by bouncy funk carioca beats, "Kala" feels like a more mixed, cosmopolitan affair.Recorded in India, Australia, Trinidad, Japan, Britain and Baltimore with producers including Switch and Blaqstarr, it sounds like an infectious international travelogue.
Looking at that luminous, vibrant front cover, or the ludicrously colourful video for "Boyz", M.I.A. seems more like a textile artist than anything else.
If the driving force behind her music is a restless, globe-trotting quest for identity, that makes sense - a collage is a beautiful way of drawing disparate pieces together to create a whole that exists as something important in itself.Read more ›
"Road runner, road runner/Going hundred mile per hour/With your radio oooonnnnnn," she drawls detachedly over a skittering beat and the sound of racing engines.
The dancey beat kicks in, as she announces, "I'm big timer, it's the bamboo banga/You'll be hungry like the wolves hunting dinner dinner/And we're moving with the packs like hyena ena..." Things really blossom with the next two songs, the frenetic tribal rhythms of "Bird Flu," and the Bollywood-dance, horn-heavy "Boyz."
Having hooked us in with three catchy songs, she expands her sound further: funky hip-hop, disco, distorted grimy raps, playfully violent pop, detached raps over electronic anthems, tribal house, and combinations of all of the above. It ends with a mellow, catchy tune that seems to be contradicting the whole album's mood, with M.I.A. saying "Calm down calm down CALM down!"
In the end, "Kala" is actually kind of intoxicating -- M.I.A. crams so much sound into less than an hour that it's almost a shock when your speakers go silent. Stylewise she hasn't changed much at all, but somehow the music is tighter and smoother, with fewer rough patches.
Her music is the most astounding part, splattering styles like a musical Jackson Pollock -- reggae, afrobeat, traditional Asian music, house, hip-hop, Bollywood, and funk.Read more ›
I'm going to look where she looks, because there is something intersting there.
Most recent customer reviews
M.I.A. is the only artist I really get inspired by! Great stuff...whole family rocks out to this! We love to pump it on a long car ride!Published 21 months ago by Tracey A Hutson