M.I.A.

M.I.A.

Trenchtown

M.I.A. a.k.a. Maya Arulpragasam

Maya was born in Hounslow, London but spent little time there as, at only 6 months old, her parents moved the family back to their native Sri Lanka. Motivated by her fathers wish to support the Tamil efforts to win independence from the majority Sinhalese population, her father became politically known as Arular and was a founder member of EROS (the Eelam Revolutionary Organisation of Students), a militant Tamil group.

In Sri Lanka, they lived at first on her grandparent’s remote farm, a collection of huts without electricity or running water. After a year, as her fathers involvement in militant activities increased, Maya, her older sister Kali and their mother moved to Jaffna in the far North of the country, where Maya's younger brother Sugu was born. Contact with her father was strictly limited as he was in hiding from the army, he occasionally visited in secret, slipping through the window at night and being introduced to the children as an uncle so that they didn't give him away to the army when they regularly came to question the family.

Eventually, as the civil war escalated, it became unsafe for them to stay in Sri Lanka, so her father sent tickets for them to relocate to Madras in India. Maya’s mother moved with the three children into an almost derelict house, 3 miles from the nearest road or neighbour. They scraped by for a while, with sporadic visits from Maya’s father, and the girls attended the local school, excelling as students. After a while, visits from friends and family grew less frequent and money grew very tight. The children became ill, Maya’s sister caught Typhoid and they struggled to eat enough. A visiting uncle took concern and moved them back to Sri Lanka again, where they settled back in Jaffna.

By now, the violence of the civil war was at its peak and the family repeatedly tried to flee the country. The army regularly shot Tamils seeking to move across border areas and bombed roads and escape routes.

After several failed attempts to leave, Maya’s mother successfully made it out with the three children, on to India and then finally back to London, where they were housed as refugees.

It was in the late eighties and on a notoriously racist council estate in Mitcham, Surrey, that Maya began to learn English. Aged just eleven and in a new country, she was exposed to western radio for the first time by the noise resonating from her neighbours. Her affinity with hip-hop and rap began from there - the uncompromising attitudes of Public Enemy and N.W.A. clicked with a frustrated, energetic war-child trying to relate to grey and foreign surroundings.

Maya was a talented and creative student, eventually winning a place at London's Central Saint Martins Art School, where she studied fine art, film and video. Here, for the first time, she began to piece together some of the different strands of her life experience. In an early incarnation of what was later to become M.I.A., she learnt how to play off her different cultural personae against each other; layering rap iconography with the warfare pictures from her youth, Asian Britain with American new-wave film making style and St. Martin's fashion sense with refugee outlooks.

A successful art career beckoned and, for a while, seemed to be Maya's destined path. Her first-ever public

exhibition of paintings featured candy coloured spray-paint and stencil pictures of the Tamil terrorist movement. Graffitied tigers and palm trees mixed with orange, green and pink camouflage, bombs, guns and freedom fighters on chip board off-cuts and canvases. The show was nominated for the alternative Turner prize, every painting sold and a monograph book of the collection was published by Pocko (which was simply entitled 'M.I.A.', an acronym for Missing In Acton).

A commission from Elastica's Justine Frischmann to provide the artwork and cover image for the band's second album led to Maya following the band on tour around forty American states, video-documenting the event. The support act on the tour was electro-clash supremo Peaches, who introduced Maya to the Roland MC-505 sequencing machine and gave her the courage to take on the one art-form she felt least confident in, music.

Back home in London, Maya and Justine got hold of their own 505 and, working with the simplest of set-ups (a second-hand 4-track, the 505 and a radio mic), Maya worked-up a series of six songs onto a demo tape which became her calling card to the industry. The tape found it's way into the hands of Steve Mackey and Ross Orton who then re-worked “Galang” into the monstrous meld of influences that would eventually propel M.I.A. into the limelight.

An addictive mashed-up recipe of dancehall, electro, grime and world music, Showbiz Records only pressed up 500 copies of “Galang” but that was enough for her to go on and win the instant support of DJs and the media seemingly everywhere – “M.I.A. HAS THE LOOK, THE LYRICS, THE PROFILE, THE MONGREL BEATS TO BE HUGE. IF THE MAJORS HAVE ANY SENSE, THEY'LL PILE IN.” Sunday Times Culture.

The majors did indeed pile in with M.I.A. eventually opting to sign to XL Recordings (home to Dizzee Rascal, Basement Jaxx and the White Stripes), embracing them as they were the only label to offer her 100% creative control. Meanwhile, the underground success of “Galang” had continued to spread, even earning M.I.A. plaudits in the American Press.

For her next single release (out early ’05 in the US), “Sunshowers,” Maya again hooked up again with Ross Orton and Steve Mackey who had furnished her so successfully with the insane electro-squelch and mangled beats on “Galang.” Hitting the UK airwaves this past June, they pushed boundaries even further with hyper-minimalist production and a reworked chorus from Dr. Buzzards Original Savannah Band’s track of the same name to create a hypnotic template for her to fire out her young-girl bravado, this time about guerilla warfare and the Tamil-Sinhalese civil war.

With this first single proper barely on the shelves and no gigs at all to her name, New York's Fader magazine made her their cover star with the strap-line ‘THIS IS M.I.A. - MUSIC'S NOW THING!’ She flew out to New York to perform her first ever live set (for the launch of the issue) to a screaming crowd of hyped fans and then stayed to see Matthew Williamson open and close his fashion week runway show with “Sunshowers.”

The accompanying video for “Galang”, featuring multiple M.I.A.’s amid a backdrop of her graffiti artwork animated and brought to life, was directed by Ruben Fleischer and art directed by M.I.A. herself. On the surface it looked like a colourful pop video but watch it carefully and you’ll see scenes of urban Britain and the ongoing Sri Lankan civil war being depicted and delivered with a wry sense of humour. M.I.A. is fast proving herself to be a far from ordinary pop star.

Her debut album, Arular, is set for release in February 2005. Titled in acknowledgment of her father's past, it follows the same philosophy that unites all strands of the M.I.A. project - cut and paste. The mix of production credits on the album all feature forays into new territory for the collaborators, with ex-Pulp member Steve Mackey doing dancehall and pop-maestro Richard X working with Sri Lankan nursery rhymes; and from her hand-sprayed artwork on the record sleeves, lyrics that mix Tamil, cockney and American slang to her tracksuits and hoodies specially sewn from the brightest, boldest African print fabrics, or Mowgli dance moves for ragga beats - M.I.A. creates culture clashes that work; ‘a unique voice unafraid to mix big issues with cool sounds’ (Harpers & Queen).

Artists

  1. 47 Soul

  2. 6Foot7

  3. AAA BADBOY VS DUB BOY (SOCA SET)

  4. AARDVARK

  5. Ace Ventura

  6. Agbeko

  7. Agent Sasco & Dub Akom Band

  8. Agressor Bunx

  9. AJ Tracey

  10. Alabama 3

  11. Alfresco Disco

  12. Alice Francis

  13. ALIX PEREZ

  14. Almatic

  15. Alpha Portal

  16. Altern 8 LIVE

  17. Amy Becker

  18. ANJELO DISONS

  19. Aphrodite

  20. AQUASKY

  21. ARCON

  22. Aries

  23. Ariwo

  24. Arrested Development

  25. ASIAN HAWK

  26. Astrix

  27. Atterkop

  28. Baby Queens

  29. Back to the Planet

  30. BAR STOOL PREACHERS

  31. BARBARIX

  32. Bare Knuckle Parade

  33. Beans On Toast

  34. BEARDY WEARDY

  35. Beating Heart

  36. BEN UFO

  37. Benjamin Zephaniah & the Revolutionary Minds

  38. Berg

  39. Big Swing Sound feat. Hypeman Sage

  40. Big Youth + U-Roy

  41. BILLAIN

  42. Black Sun Empire

  43. Black Water County

  44. Blaggers ITA

  45. Blend Mishkin feat. Peppery

  46. BLOCK DODGER

  47. Bobbie Johnson

  48. BODDIKA

  49. BOOKA SHADE

  50. Boys Noize

  51. BRAINCELL

  52. BRAINIAC

  53. BREAK

  54. Brinsley Forde, Founder of Aswad

  55. BROKEN NOTE

  56. C@ In The H@

  57. Captain Accident

  58. Captain Cactus & The Screaming Harlots

  59. Captain Hotknives

  60. Carl Craig

  61. CASPA

  62. Casual Nausea

  63. CATJAM

  64. CaveMouth

  65. Chainska Brassika

  66. CHALI 2NA and KRAFTY KUTS

  67. Champion

  68. Channel One

  69. Chavo

  70. Cherry Bandora

  71. China Shop Bull

  72. Chris Liberator and Sterling Moss LIVE

  73. Chris Wood

  74. Colonel Mustard & The Dijon 5

  75. Conners & The Con Men

  76. Coppa

  77. COUNTING COINS

  78. Crash Nomada

  79. Cut Capers

  80. Cypress Hill

  81. D-BRIDGE

  82. D-Dots

  83. Danny Wav

  84. Dat Brass

  85. Dave Clarke

  86. Dawn Penn

  87. Dazee

  88. DEAD PLAYERS

  89. DEADBEAT UK

  90. Deathmachine

  91. Deekline

  92. Delhi Sultanate

  93. Destructive Tendencies

  94. Dirty Diesel Outlaw Orchestra

  95. DISMANTLE

  96. Disorda

  97. DJ CARTIER

  98. DJ DAPPER DAN

  99. DJ DIE

  100. DJ Format

  101. DJ Kobayashi

  102. DJ Luck and MC Neat

  103. DJ POD

  104. DJ Storm

  105. DJ Vadim

  106. Dolphin

  107. Donae’o

  108. Dr Syntax and Pete Cannon

  109. Dry White Bones

  110. Dub FX

  111. Dub Phizix & Strategy

  112. DUB TREES (dj set)

  113. DUSKY

  114. Dutty Moonshine

  115. E-COLI

  116. Earl Gateshead

  117. Earthling

  118. Easy Stride Band

  119. EAT STATIC

  120. Ed Solo

  121. Ed West & Inja

  122. EEON

  123. Efa Supertramp

  124. El Gadzé

  125. Elder Island

  126. Electrikal Sound System

  127. Elijah & Skilliam

  128. Eliza Carthy and The Wayward Band

  129. EMILY DUST

  130. Empatee Du Weiss

  131. Emperor

  132. Erik & The Worldly Savages

  133. ESCAPE

  134. Escape Roots and Tom Spirals

  135. Eskorzo

  136. EURYTHMY

  137. Eva Lazarus

  138. E.V.P

  139. Extra Medium

  140. F000l

  141. Fabio and Grooverider

  142. Faintest Idea

  143. Faith i Branko

  144. Fandjango

  145. Ferocious Dog

  146. FILTERHEADS

  147. First World Pros

  148. FISH

  149. FISH AND SHERRY S

  150. FLAVA D

  151. Floxytek

  152. Forbidden Society

  153. forest of fools

  154. Fourward

  155. Fox (Swing Tings Takeover)

  156. Frank Turner

  157. Freestylers

  158. Friction

  159. Fungus Funk

  160. Future Frequency

  161. Galak Spiritual

  162. GANCHER AND RUIN

  163. GARDNA

  164. Gaudi

  165. Gentleman's Dub Club

  166. GEO

  167. Gilles Peterson (DJ Set) + Earl Zinger

  168. GoGo Penguin

  169. GOLD DUBS

  170. Gypsy Hill

  171. Gypsy Unit

  172. Hallouminati

  173. Heartless Crew

  174. Hedge Gods

  175. Hellfish

  176. Hepcat

  177. Heymoonshaker

  178. Hiphoppapotamus

  179. Hodmadoddery

  180. Hoffmaestro

  181. Holly Holden y Su Banda

  182. Holy Goof

  183. Holy Moly & The Crackers

  184. Hoopy Frood

  185. HORSE MEAT DISCO

  186. HOUSE GOSPEL CHOIR

  187. Hujaboy

  188. HYBRID THEORY

  189. Hylu feat. Zico, A.P Grimshaw & Kosher (Unit 137)

  190. HYPNOCOUSTICS

  191. IAMDBB

  192. Iba Mahr & Harar Band

  193. Icicle

  194. Imperial Leisure

  195. Imprints

  196. Indian Man

  197. Jade

  198. Jago

  199. Jah9 & The Dub Treatment

  200. Jake and the Jellyfish

  201. Jake Martin

  202. James Ray & The Black Hearted Riders

  203. Jamie Berry

  204. JAMIE RODIGAN

  205. Jaye and Foe

  206. Jesse Royal

  207. JIM JONES & THE RIGHTEOUS MIND

  208. JOURNEY

  209. JOY ORBISON

  210. Jungle Brown

  211. Junior Bill

  212. Junior Jungle + Breakdancing Gorillas

  213. Juno Reactor

  214. Jus Now

  215. Just Say Nay

  216. Kaligola Disco Bazar

  217. Kelvin 373

  218. KENTA HAYASHI a.k.a Loop Pedal Ninja

  219. Kid Carpet

  220. Kíla

  221. killbox

  222. K.I.M

  223. KING PRAWN

  224. King Sub

  225. KINGS OF THE ROLLERS

  226. Kioko

  227. Kit Hawes and Aaron Catlow

  228. Kool Tur

  229. KOXBOX

  230. Kumbia Queers

  231. L 33

  232. La Inedita

  233. L.A. Salami

  234. Lakuta

  235. Last Edition

  236. Layfullstop

  237. Lazy Habits

  238. Lead Shot Hazard

  239. Legendary Shack Shakers

  240. LEMON TREE

  241. Leo Samson

  242. Liam Bailey

  243. LIMEWAX

  244. LION UNIT (Lionpulse + Unit 137)

  245. Lionpulse

  246. LMZG (Lamuzgueule)

  247. Lo-Fi Funky Space Quest

  248. Los Albertos

  249. Los Dueños

  250. Los Fastidios

  251. Loyle Carner

  252. Lucas

  253. Lutan Fyah

  254. Mad Apple Circus

  255. Mad Dog Mcrea

  256. MAGIK

  257. Maid of Ace

  258. Mama Jerk and the Ladyfingers

  259. MANDIDEXTROUS

  260. MANTISMASH

  261. MARA LEFAY

  262. Mark EG

  263. Maroon Town

  264. MATERIA

  265. Matilda's Scoundrels

  266. MATT JAM LAMONT

  267. Matt Montez Duo

  268. MATT:SCRATCH

  269. MATTYCORE

  270. Mbongwana Star

  271. MEFJUS

  272. M.I.A.

  273. Mick O'Toole

  274. Mike Love

  275. MINDFOLD

  276. Mista Trick

  277. MONKI

  278. MOULDY SOUL

  279. Mr Tea & The Minions

  280. Mr Vegas

  281. MURDER HE WROTE

  282. MY BAD SISTER

  283. My Nu Leng & Dread MC

  284. Nanoplex

  285. Nattali Rize

  286. Natty Bo & The Top Cats

  287. NATZAN

  288. Navigator

  289. Nérija

  290. NEUTRON

  291. New Daze

  292. New Town Kings

  293. NICKY BLACKMARKET

  294. NIMBUS

  295. NIMI

  296. Noble Jacks

  297. Nomade Orquestra

  298. OCCULAR

  299. Ocean Wisdom

  300. OPTIV & BTK

  301. OTT

  302. OZRICS LIVE PA

  303. Paradox

  304. Pareidolia

  305. PARLY B

  306. Petrol Girls

  307. Phace

  308. Phat Sam

  309. Phosphenes

  310. PIEMAN

  311. PITCH BLACK

  312. Pizzatramp

  313. PLASMOTEK

  314. Poor Old Dogs

  315. Portico Quartet

  316. PRO-GRAM

  317. Protoje

  318. PSYCHOSONIC

  319. QUANTA

  320. R-ZAC

  321. Raging Fyah

  322. RAMA

  323. Randall

  324. Ras Kwame

  325. RAY KEITH

  326. Real Roots & Ramon Judah

  327. REALITY GRID

  328. Redlight

  329. Reel Big Fish

  330. Reno Divorce

  331. Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band

  332. Rockwell

  333. RONIN

  334. ROSKA

  335. Runkus & The Old Skool Band

  336. Rusko

  337. Rusty Shackles

  338. Sam & The Womp

  339. Sasha Steppa

  340. Schlachthofbronx

  341. Sea Bass Kid

  342. Selby & the Dharma Blitz

  343. Shanty

  344. Sheelanagig

  345. Shootin the Crow

  346. Shumba Youth

  347. Shy FX

  348. SILAS NEPTUNE

  349. Sinai Sound

  350. SINAI SOUND SYSTEM

  351. SK Shlomo

  352. SKA’N’SKA

  353. Skata Tones

  354. SKEPSIS

  355. SKEPTICAL

  356. Skindred

  357. Skitz

  358. SLACKBABA

  359. Slightly Stoopid

  360. SLIPMATT

  361. Smerins Anti Social Club

  362. Smith & The Honey Badgers

  363. Smokey Joe & The Kid feat. Mystro

  364. Solana

  365. solardo

  366. Solid Gone

  367. Solo Banton & Horseman with The Upper Cut Band

  368. Solomento

  369. SONIC SPECIES

  370. SONIC WAVE CONTROL

  371. Sonido Vegetal

  372. Sons Of Kemet

  373. Soom T

  374. Sounds Of Harlowe

  375. Soweto Kinch

  376. SP23 SUNDAY Takeover

  377. Spectrasoul

  378. SPINDRIFT

  379. S.P.Y.

  380. Stagga & Magugu

  381. STAR.ONE

  382. Steamchicken

  383. Stick Figure

  384. Stillhouse

  385. Sublime With Rome

  386. Sugar Hill Gang with Grandmaster Mele Mel and Scorpio's Furious 5

  387. Suns Of Dub

  388. Surfin Birds

  389. SUTEKH

  390. Swindle

  391. Swing Patrol - Dance Classes

  392. Swing Ting Label Showcase

  393. T-MENACE

  394. Tapioka

  395. Technimatic

  396. The Allergies

  397. The Balkan Wanderers

  398. The Bonner Brothers

  399. The Boot Hill All Stars

  400. The Breath

  401. The Brewer's Daughter

  402. The Comet Is Coming

  403. The C**ty Bumpkins

  404. The Din

  405. The Discount Orchestra

  406. The DJ Producer LIVE

  407. The Downsetters

  408. The Dreadnoughts

  409. The Dualers

  410. The Eskies

  411. The Filaments

  412. The Folkestra

  413. The Furrow Collective

  414. The Generators

  415. The Heatwave

  416. The Hempolics (PA Set)

  417. The Inexplicables

  418. The Infinite Collective

  419. The JB Conspiracy

  420. The King Solomon Band

  421. The Mighty John Street Ska Orchestra

  422. The Nanofish Dippers

  423. The Original Blues Brothers Band

  424. THE PLANET SMASHERS

  425. The Prototypes

  426. THE SICKEST SQUAD

  427. The Ska Vengers

  428. The Specials

  429. The Speed Freak

  430. The Tribe

  431. The Ufoslavians

  432. The Whiskey Rebellion

  433. The Wooden Men

  434. The Wurzels

  435. They Say Jump

  436. Thrasher

  437. Toddla T

  438. Toots & the Maytals

  439. Town Of Cats

  440. TQD

  441. Trashtucada

  442. Tree House Fire

  443. TUN UP!

  444. Turner Brothers

  445. UKAUKA

  446. Uncle Dugs

  447. United Vibrations

  448. Unknown Era

  449. Upbeat Sneakers

  450. Urban Lions

  451. Utah Saints

  452. VANDAL

  453. Vibe Tribe

  454. VOLATILE CYCLE

  455. Wax Tailor

  456. WICKI

  457. Will Wood

  458. WOLF TECH

  459. WONK UNIT

  460. Xtrah

  461. YUSUFLA

  462. ZEN DUB

  463. Ziggy Marley