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salt and pepper my mango,” sing-songs 28-year-old Maya Arulpragasam at the beginning of her infectious, dancehall-inspired song, “Sunshowers.” A remix of “Sunshowers” is the second track on the London-based artist’s debut single featuring the even more pulsating “Galang,” released in the United States on September 28. The song’s drum-pattern beat is catchy, quirky, crazy—it’s so good, you almost don’t want to bother to decipher the mish-mash of words she’s rapping spliced between an airy, soprano-sounding chorus. But something about the song forces you to lean in a little closer, pay attention—and that’s when the lyrics jump out: “You wanna go? / You wanna win a war? / Like PLO I don’t surrendo … Semi 9 and snipered him / On that wall they posted him / they cornered him / and then just murdered him.” The dichotomy between the party beat and heavy message forces a double-take—what is this music, anyway?

“Nobody wants to be dancing to political songs … Every bit of music out there that’s making it into the mainstream is really about nothing. I wanted to see if I could write songs about something important and make it sound like nothing. And it kind of worked.

“Nobody wants to be dancing to political songs … Every bit of music out there that’s making it into the mainstream is really about nothing. I wanted to see if I could write songs about something important and make it sound like nothing. And it kind of worked. It sounds like a pop song, but if you really listen to the lyrics, it’s about what I see on the telly and news and what’s going on,” says Arulpragasam matter-of-factly, as if sniper killings are, indeed, a part of “what’s going on” in her world. But then, this Sri Lankan transplant to Britain has had a bit more going on in her life than most.

A rough start

Arulpragasam relocated from her native Sri Lanka to London with her mother, sister and brother at the age of 10—but hers isn’t a typical tale of South Asian immigration to the West. Arulpragasam’s life in war-torn Sri Lanka was one of constant secrecy and scraping by. She never knew her father, one of the founding members of Sri Lanka’s Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, a militant guerrilla group formed in 1976 with the goal of gaining political independence for Sri Lanka’s minority Tamil population. “We saw him once a year, for 10 minutes at a time. My mum said, ‘That’s your uncle—your dad is dead.’ It was to protect us,” she explains, from the police interrogations at school.

mia-1.jpg
Sri Lankan M.I.A. is a force to be reckoned with.

Arulpragasam quickly learned the price of being Tamil among a primarily Sinhalese population, and of being the daughter of such a notorious figure. “We lived in hiding for so long. We were just moving from village to village and from house to house. Nobody wanted to put us up; we were untouchable. Everybody knew about us in Sri Lanka, and nobody wanted to deal with us because we brought so much heat. The army would follow [us wherever we'd go]. We were living in big-time poverty, stealing mangoes off someone else’s tree,” she remembers.

Then, in 1986, when the civil war escalated and many of Arulpragasam’s friends and family died in the crossfire, her mother collected Arulpragasam and her siblings and successfully sought refugee status in Britain. “When we got to England, we were safe. That’s all it was,” she says. And it really wasn’t much more than that—Arulpragasam’s family was placed in a notoriously racist, crime-ridden housing estate in southwest London, where she endured daily racist abuse. Her mother took various jobs to supplement the “bags of clothes and vouchers” the government gave them, eventually using her knowledge of sewing to stitch medals for the British royal family. “They [the royal medals] used to come out of this flat, in an estate,” she laughs. Since Arulpragasam didn’t know any English when she arrived, her classmates “assumed I was really thick and dumb”—even though she was academically ahead of other students by leaps and bounds. “I could do any equation standing on my head,” she says smugly. And she didn’t fit in with the thriving South Asian community, either, which she encountered when she went to high school in west London at 16. “I met a community of Bengalis, Indian, Pakistanis, everybody. They were having a great time … I spent time hanging out, but I was this Sri Lankan. Sri Lankans were the newest batch of brown people—they only started coming late 80s or early 90s, so there wasn’t a community that I could click into.”

I’m just the alternative to that ‘coffee table’ music. I’m the flipside to what Norah Jones is doing.

And so it was music that caught Arulpragasam’s attention in otherwise gray England. “It was 1987, and hip hop was just hitting England. When I got here, all I knew was Michael Jackson. I started listening to the radio and discovered hip hop and then dancehall,” she says. That discovery changed her life, influencing the beats she would spin years later. When she was younger and faced the language barrier, she turned to music to communicate. “All I could do was dance. At every celebration or party, they asked me to do a dance routine. They kind of gave me respect for art and music and stuff.”

Some of M.I.A.'s grafitti-inspired and spray painted artwork.
Some of M.I.A.’s grafitti-inspired and spray painted artwork.
Artist in the making

Music may have been her salvation, but it was art that launched her career. Arulpragasam enrolled in the prestigious Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, studying fine arts and film. She quickly emerged as a star for her unique stencil graffiti boasting Tamil iconography. She was shortlisted for the Alternative Turner Prize, and art publisher Pocko packaged a collection of her art, which she named M.I.A, or Missing in Action. She chose it because the initials sounded phonetically like her first name, and because “so many of my cousins are missing in action in Sri Lanka,” she explains, as she sprays her signature stencils on white labels for a limited release of her single. The moniker stuck, and she performs under the name M.I.A to this day.

Her college career led her back to Sri Lanka for a painful trip during which she set out to create a documentary about the political repression and violence she had lived through. The experience was more than she expected. “It was really difficult—I totally forgot that, in the 15 years I’d been in England, I’d grown up … Every army solider there thought I was a threat to the nation … There is no right to live for a Tamil person in the constitution,” she says. She recalls being interrogated and harassed. “In Sri Lanka, you hide your face, don’t talk to anyone, just bow your head, don’t speak. You’re just a robot with no life, no hope. I was just crying the whole time. I had a message from the Ministry of Defense, a letter from British embassy, and I was [still] getting harassed, even though I was so obviously westernized. There were women getting raped in broad daylight and people were getting raped by the army soldiers. It was just havoc.”

I really need to feel informed about what’s going on, because as much as I love to know what’s cool, and what colors are in this season, and what you should wear on your feet, at the same time, I need to know what’s going on.

When she returned to England, she tried to put the documentary together, but, in the aftermath of September 11, 2001, felt that it would be misconstrued as propaganda. Instead, Arulpragasam turned her attention to making a documentary about electronic shock-rocker Peaches, a fellow Saint Martins grad. It was Peaches who introduced her to the Roland TR 505, an unsophisticated drum machine. The 505 revolutionized Arulpragasam’s life, luring her to spend hours experimenting with beats and creating vocals. Soon after her introduction to the 505, she went on vacation to the Caribbean island of Bequia, where the sights and sounds of the island inspired her to experiment further. “I was bored and tried to write a song,” she remembers.

M.I.A., aka Maya Arulpragasam
M.I.A., aka Maya Arulpragasam
Claim to fame

That product of boredom, a cheap beat machine and a 4-track recorder evolved into the song “Galang,” an exuberant explosion of dancehall, hip hop and electronic beats mixed with undecipherable vocals and street slang. And if Arulpragasam’s life story seems remarkable, then why shouldn’t her social circle be extraordinary, as well? In art school, she had designed indie Brit band Elastica’s The Menace album sleeve, “and that’s how I met loads of musicians,” she says. It’s unclear just how she rubbed elbows with Pulp’s Steve Mackey, but he is credited with discovering the song and co-producing it. “Galang” became a fast hit among DJs in Britain, and soon, recording companies were clamoring for Arulpragasam’s attention. XL Recordings, home to Prodigy, Badly Drawn Boy and the White Stripes, won the bidding war and signed her on the spot. Her full-length album with XL is due out in January. So far, she’s also made a lush video for “Sunshowers,” which she filmed in the jungles of South India with acclaimed director Rajesh Touchriver of In the Name of Buddha fame.

Arulpragasam doesn’t have any formal musical training, but she insists that’s beside the point: “I use the technology around me to make music. It’s not about what you use. It’s about what sound you get out at the end of the day. My music’s got rhythm, beat, bass line. Vocals that are different. It’s not really about vocal gymnastics. It still has an urgency … I’m just the alternative to that ‘coffee table music’—I’m the flipside to what Norah Jones is doing.”

But even if her music sounds less serious than Norah Jones’ ballads, the message is certainly more so. “When I was writing music and writing lyrics, I didn’t want to write about love songs and stuff, because it really didn’t feel like my order of priorities. I thought, ‘OK, there’s sh*t going down—what can I do to make myself more useful?’ I just always wanted to be a really useful human being,” she says. “I really need to feel informed about what’s going on, because as much as I love to know what’s cool, and what colors are in this season, and what you should wear on your feet, at the same time, I need to know what’s going on,” she adds. It’s unclear whether she’s being sarcastic about keeping up with the trends, or if that truly is a part of her complex personality. After all, her songs are tinged with thoughtful words looped over carefree beats. She explains the paradox with genetics: “My mum is a saint, and my dad is insane. That’s exactly what I am—I’m a split personality between my mum and my dad. I look at them both, and they hate each other. So this is what you get, a freak, a nutty, creative person who’s thoughtful,” she laughs.

With the “Galang” single in stores and her full-length album on the way, Arulpragasam has come a long way from the jungles of war-torn Sri Lanka. She credits her success to her cultural background. “My mates always say to me, why aren’t you mad? Or having therapy or something? I think, coming from where I come from, you just have to get on with it. That’s what life is. You just get on with it. You can’t be indulgent enough to whine about stuff. It’s about being useful. I don’t have time to get mad or get bitter or depressed or anything. I just want to have a good ending to the story.” It seem like she’s already written it herself.n

Published on October 4, 2004.
Photography: Courtesy of XL Recordings. All artwork by Maya Arulpragasam.
Comments are closed.
  1. April 9, 2007, 8:48 pm Thiru

    She is the guerrilla goddess :)

  2. April 11, 2007, 2:56 pm anita

    she is lovely
    I started hearing her in a party and i loved her !…she…rocks…!

  3. August 22, 2007, 6:20 pm david dond sealey

    i love her music and i will love to work with her. look me up http://www.myspace.com/dond87

  4. August 30, 2007, 8:20 pm stephen ball

    she is beautyfull+makes beautyfull music! tell her that from me!!! XXXXXXXX

  5. August 31, 2007, 10:20 am dee

    omg she is so gorgeous! she doesn’t have the look of many stars we see in Hollywood and stuff, but still looks really uniquely pretty. I love her style, and her music! My favorite songs by her are Boyz, Paper Planes, Jimmy, and Bucky Done Gun. I’m so adding them to my ipod! I hope she makes new music.. they all make me feel like dancing and are fun to sing. And its a breath of fresh air, from the mainstream music! I LOVE M.I.A.!

  6. September 2, 2007, 2:16 am abu musta

    Where is she now? what she doing now?
    is she in NASA now?…..Any body know that………….

  7. September 5, 2007, 9:02 pm Dhaarshini

    hey…i love tat song tat u sang wif timbaland….

  8. September 18, 2007, 10:33 am Nikki

    I loved her style when I first heard her and grew to love her music even more. She has inspired me alot for my own Ideas for rap and music and those beats man just so crazy… If I had a chance to do a duo with somebody it would be with her… Shes a cool chicky and awesome artist!!

  9. October 31, 2007, 7:36 am Swerv

    I think im in love

  10. November 5, 2007, 3:05 am Dan Tana

    M.I.A. has inspired me to stand up for myself. What a beautiful, incredibly uplifting person she is. How I love her . … such incredibly deep lyrics! BTW I’m a 35yo yank, as if that matters. . . .!! remember beauty is only skin deep, but “Galang” is for life.

  11. November 14, 2007, 4:09 am LEEna

    fav artist eva LOl

    I make up heaps of choreograpHy ta her MUSik lol

  12. November 22, 2007, 9:56 pm vinny Rickwood

    m.i.a she is very cool . standing out bye her self

  13. November 26, 2007, 9:01 am D.J.o

    I*Adore*You*M.I.A

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    You*Are*The*Finest*Contemporary*Artist!!*
    Love*All*Songs(esp*Boyz*MPDR*FarFar*BigBranch*PPlanes…ALLL>>>*I*Cant*Lie*)

    EvveryOne*I*Know*I*Know*Hates*You*__And*Dont*Understand*You*But*You*Are*My*Favorite*For… *Lets*Say*2*Years*So*Far*I*Think>>>>>>>>>>>>>>.>>>>>>>
    Youre*My*Visual*Icon…..*CreAzy*Style

    MIA>MIA>MIA>MIA>MIA>>>>>>>>>

    Visual>Inspiration>In>My>Life:HenryMatisse;Toulouse-Lautrec,andM.I.A

    Waaaaaaaooooooooo

  14. November 29, 2007, 9:40 pm OUR YOUNIVERSE

    TRURRLY INCREDIBLE AND INSPIRING REFERENCES…. COME TO THE STATES YOUR PRESENCE INVOKES THOSE WITH OUT PLATE FORMS, AND STRONG FOUNDATIONS TO STEM FROM.

  15. November 30, 2007, 10:52 am ZALG

    M.I.A is just awsome….i wish i could c her perform live. her style is so unique and she stands out like no other! she is just gorgeous..i love that face of hers! and her sunglasses are just awsome! my favorite songs are “jimmy”, “hustle”, “bucky done gun” and many others! keep it up M.I.A…u rock!

  16. December 19, 2007, 9:23 pm mariaDmnxia

    M.I.A you rockmy ears and my heart. i don’t know if you really care about social conflicts, but i felt that at first time i heard your voice and traditional sounds mixed whit electrobits.love your sound.mamasita.

  17. January 28, 2008, 10:37 pm Kim MacNeil

    Isn’t it awesome to hear somebody singing about something other than being horny or pissed off at their boyfriend/girlfriend?

    I really wish there were more musicians like her out there!

  18. February 27, 2008, 10:22 am Dahara

    Wow.. I didnt know she was Sri Lankan. I come frm SL as well. Ive only heard paper planes. She is pretty cool as well!! Her songs are played quite a lot on MTV.
    Now that I know a bit more about her, I should probably start listening to her music!

  19. March 9, 2008, 1:07 am aubert

    She is an inspiration. Beautiful in so many ways. Sexy in the most respectable way.

  20. March 29, 2008, 3:32 am Brasannah Rajagopalan

    Tjek out her fan site on facebook,
    M.I.A – Mathangi Arulpragasam

  21. April 10, 2008, 11:08 pm rpsnanDana

    “”……..Tigers of Tamil Eelam, a militant guerrilla group formed in 1976 with the goal of gaining political independence for Sri Lanka’s minority Tamil population……………””

    as a sri lankan i dont know about such militant guerrilla group fighting for gaining political independence for Sri Lanka’s minority Tamil population.

    all i know is the LTTE or your militant guerrilla group is terrorists not fighting for any political independence…..and there exact goal is to kill innocent people,great leaders [both of Tamil leaders and Sinhalese leaders in all political parties] and form a terrorist control area in eastern sri lanka…. and divide this beautiful island in to two.they call it their EeeLaarM or their mother land. but in sri lanka we all live together i mean tamils and sinhalese…..
    we dont want to devide our island in to pieces.

    to check all news from government defense web click http://www.defence.lk and start working against world terrorism….thanx…

  22. April 12, 2008, 2:21 am GTKRulez

    MIA has never done an original song as far as I know. She has no talent at all …she allways used common music samples with the same notes, same chords, same drum hits,,,

  23. April 12, 2008, 8:56 pm mia

    hi my na,e is mia murphy um i went to this website to see if they would have me but they have you you prtty thought

  24. April 13, 2008, 11:31 pm Ryan Rostie

    Paper Planes is the best song ive heard in a while.. the beat, the lyrics, the sound. wow im a guy who listens to metal and clasic rock-grunge lol and i heard that song.. i was floored. keep it up? wait .. Tell her that for me!

  25. April 14, 2008, 4:56 pm Nina D

    I think M.I.A. is awesome because she challenges her listener while providing them with ear candy! :)

  26. April 20, 2008, 10:53 pm Chantel

    I’m in the U.S.A and the first song i heard from M.I.A was Boyz and i fell in love with her flow and style and it just seems she”s so original and powerful and free…then i did some research and finally i’m a huge fan, i just came too know she even work with a girl named rye rye from baltimore, md which is my part of town and i’m just excited that maybe she can incorporate our club music into her music….i wish the best for her and the fam, she came a long way and is going far!

  27. April 25, 2008, 4:07 pm Drix Raudri

    I read about you in the L.A. Times, I must say I was impressed to read that you are a very unique and special individual. I fell in love with you the instant I put the paper down and said to myself, “wow!” take care and don’t forget the Golden Rule. They are words to live by.

  28. April 28, 2008, 8:38 pm Velir

    MIA is da best! and doubly so 4 me cos i too am a tamil from whats “now” known as srilanka. Ive been through whats she’s been though and she is an inspiration to all of us!

    keep it up GIRL!

    and by the way folks; just ignore the BS posted by this ” rpsnanDana” and the link she provided. that link is the “official” srilankan government website. lol anyone with common sense would know what to expect from such a government mouthpiece right?

    i would suggest checking the humanrights watch, the amnesty international, doctors without borders, Unichef about the human rights violations carried out/being carried out by the srilankan Military. after all, the ones i listed are neutral sides.

    :)

  29. April 28, 2008, 9:14 pm Velir

    some links from HumanrightsWatch that support what Mia says

    Sri Lanka: ‘Disappearances’ by Security Forces a National Crisis
    http://hrw.org/english/docs/2008/03/06/slanka18203.htm

    Human Rights under Siege
    http://hrw.org/reports/2007/srilanka0807/

    Top Sri Lanka official(government) calls U.N. aid chief “terrorist”
    http://in.reuters.com/article/topNews/idINIndia-28991720070815

    well nyways…dont wanna clutter up this page with links and stuff. just posted it as a reply to “rpsnanDana”‘s propaganda :))

    btw M.I.A is playing at Coachella :)

  30. April 30, 2008, 7:19 pm M.I.Aniac Layouts

    We Love M.I.A,
    we even started a site about her,
    we love this site and we support her 100 %

  31. May 4, 2008, 8:56 am Sri Lankan

    එකමත් එකකාලෙක ප්‍රබාකරන් කියල මිනීමරුවෙක්‌ හිටිය.ඌගේ සීයල ලංකාවට අවේ වහල් ශේවයට,මේ වෙශිගෙ පුතාට ඒක අමතක වෙලා මූ ලංකාවෙන් කැල්ලක්‌ ඉල්ලුව මූගෙ මොලේ නැතිකමට මූ හිතුවෙ ලංකාව කියන්නෙත් කනදෙඅයක්‌ කියල

  32. May 6, 2008, 2:19 pm bRii bABii

    AHHHHHHH….I LOVE U, MIA…UR SOOO GORGEOUS AND I LOVE UR STYLE IN CLOTHING AND MUSIK!!
    HOPEFULLY ONE DAY I’LL BE ABLE TO MEET U!
    -LIVE, LAUGH, LOVE!!

  33. May 20, 2008, 8:27 am MANILAL JAYAWARDHANA

    I would like to draw the attention of the readers to two paragraphs which refer to such blatant lies and half truths……as follows

    Arulpragasam quickly learned the price of being Tamil among a primarily Sinhalese population, and of being the daughter of such a notorious figure. “We lived in hiding for so long. We were just moving from village to village and from house to house. Nobody wanted to put us up; we were untouchable. Everybody knew about us in Sri Lanka, and nobody wanted to deal with us because we brought so much heat. The army would follow [us wherever we’d go]. We were living in big-time poverty, stealing mangoes off someone else’s tree,” she remembers.

    Every army solider there thought I was a threat to the nation … There is no right to live for a Tamil person in the constitution,” she says. She recalls being interrogated and harassed. “In Sri Lanka, you hide your face, don’t talk to anyone, just bow your head, don’t speak. You’re just a robot with no life, no hope. I was just crying the whole time. I had a message from the Ministry of Defense, a letter from British embassy, and I was [still] getting harassed, even though I was so obviously westernized. There were women getting raped in broad daylight and people were getting raped by the army soldiers. It was just havoc.”

    IN HER OWN WORDS SHE HAS ADMITTED THE DIFFICULTIES SHE AND HER FAMILY HAD TO UNDERGO BEING THE LINKED TO THE LTTE. IS THAT SURPRISING…..? WOULD ONE EXPECT THE US GOVERNMENT TO MOLLY CODDLE THE FAMILY OF BIN LADEN OR SADDAM HUSSEIN? AS PER HER ADMISSION HER FATHER WAS A FOUNDER MEMBER AND A TOP TERRORIST…….WHILE I FEEL SORRY FOR THEIR FAMILY FOR HAVING TO UNDERGO HARDSHIPS I LEAVE WITH MUCH ADMIRATION FOR HER GUTS TO FIGHT IT OUT AND COME OUT WITH FLYING COLOURS IN BEING THE PERSON SHE IS NOW, YET ONE CAN ONLY FEEL SORRY FOR HER AS THE TRAUMA OF HER CHILDHOOD ALONG WITH STORIES OF THE PAST (TOLD HER BY HER MOM) HAS SOMEWHAT BRAIN WASHED HER TO BELEIVE THAT SRI LANKA IS HELL FOR TAMILS……..BY STATING THAT WOMEN ARE BEING RAPED IN BROAD DAYLIGHT SHE HAS INADVERTANTLY TARNISHED THE IMAGE OF THE LAND……WHERE TAMILS, SINHALESE AND ALL OTHER RACES LIVE IN HARMONY. THE ONLY ONES WHO MAY BE HARASSED OR HASSLED ARE TERRORISTS OR SUSPECTS BUT ARE TREATED AS PER THE LAW OF THE COUNTRY. NOT ALL TAMILS ARE SUBJECT TO SUCH TREATMENT AS DEPICTED IN HER STORY UNLIKE IN THE US IN THE AFTERMATH OF 9/11 ALL THOSE WHO BORE AN ISLAMIC NAME WERE SUBJECT TO RIDICULE.

    I LEAVE IT TO THE READER TO READ BETWEEN THE LINES BEFORE ASSUMING THINGS…..BETTER STILL VISIT SRI LANKA AND FIND OUT TO YOURSELF.

  34. May 21, 2008, 12:04 am KJ

    I would invite you all to take a look at the UN, Amnesty, Human Rights Watch and Unicef data in the LTTE. I would ask you to especially pay attention to the data concerning child soldiers, though the ethnic cleansing of Muslims and forced migrations ring a bell as well. I would also like to remind you who killed Rajiv Ghandi. After that, I would suggest you see how many died the same way since. Those of you in the US are probably familiar with the fraud case against members of the LTTE in Newark, so I won’t remind you.
    After all of this, I hope you would question the validity of the LTTE pretending to represent the entire Tamil population in SL.

  35. June 1, 2008, 5:06 pm hanelio

    does anybody knwos whats the name of the song “…where you were in 92, 92 , 92.. and so on …” i think : xt2 or tx2 oder t2x or so.. PLEASE

  36. June 8, 2008, 5:09 pm Muniba

    I love the debate Mia’s story has begun between ‘patriotic’ Sri Lankans and Tamils and those who sympathise with them. We are all products of our past, and Mia’s politicised lyrics and political consciousnous is deep rooted in her childhood. Just like Paris Hilton’s flakiness stems from being brought up in the lap of luxury with satin sheets and a silver spoon in her mouth. To rpsnanDana and to MANILAL JAYAWARDHANA I would say, listen to Mia. No matter what you think of her interview, her music is the real deal.

  37. June 8, 2008, 6:36 pm Emz

    Come to New Zealand!

    We love you here!!!

    peace, and thanks :)

  38. June 12, 2008, 1:48 am Thusitha

    I don’t care Her parents are LTTE supporters, Her songs are amazing, I saw her at Austin city limits, didn’t know that she was a Sri Lankan @ dat time. We are the New Genoration, have to forget aboutthe silly war.

  39. July 17, 2008, 6:11 pm godwin

    Tamil pride:)

  40. July 18, 2008, 11:30 pm Rebecca Kotey

    Maya is an inspiration to life. She has the bigger picture in mind, so raw, unedited, and it reminds me of the music my cousins listen to in Ghana, West Africa. It is a great feeling in my heart to know someone is voicing the world through song. Thanks Maya.

  41. July 18, 2008, 11:33 pm Rebecca Kotey

    Maya is my inspiration to life. She has the bigger picture in mind, so raw, unedited, and it reminds me of the music my cousins listen to in Ghana, West Africa. It is a great feeling in my heart to know someone is voicing the world through song. Thanks Maya.

  42. July 31, 2008, 10:05 am Loner

    well what i`d like to say is i really luv mia`s work.. two thumbs up for that.. great music.. great stuff!! but about the LTTE part i cannot agree.. as a sri lankan v alone know the hardships we go through in everyday life.. i lost my younger brother and mom thanx 2 da LTTE.. the soo called saviours of the tamil people not only kills sinhalese but also hav killed many tamils and muslims … they`v killed many great tamil politicians such as Laxman Kadiragamar, Jeyaraj Pranandupulle etc. whatsmore ” LTTE is the only terrorist organization to assasinate two world leaders – FBI “, ” tamil tigers are among the most dangerous and deadliest extremists in the world. For more than three decades, the group has launched a campaign of violence and bloodshed in Sri Lanks – FBI” .. for all of you who try to defend or justify LTTE and their acts just come and try to live in sri lanka.. then only will you know and feel the terror n fear thrust upon the whole sri lankan community by LTTE.. dont talk about everything just coz some organization said sooo.. would you people will say the same thing if it waz al-queda or thalaiban?? Americans just attacked afghanistan coz some terrorists attaked their WTC!! soo you people know how many buildings the LTTE attacked?? and howmany people wre killed bcuz of that?? we are talkin about people who killed infants infront of their mothers?? just think you people dont know the LTTE we do!! dont try to justify things that you dont know

  43. August 1, 2008, 4:12 am so much 2 learn so little time...

    besides the fact that shes very beautiful…. she obviously had a horrible childhood….alot of ppl i kno would have jus gave up on life and made a change for the worst…but this woman fell n love with hip hop and dance hall….2 of my favorite genres…and came up wit a beautiful yet political sound…im glad 2 c that she made it out of sri lanka her and wat is left of her family…my heart goes out 2 her…if she ever needed support for standin up 4 wats right i would definately have her back… keep up the good work mia….i hope 2 hear another dope ass track like paper planes…i cant get enuf of that beat…do ur thang mami!

  44. August 1, 2008, 11:55 am Matt

    It’s not so often you find a gorgeous female singer that actually knows what’s going on in the world… go MIA!!!

  45. August 6, 2008, 7:54 pm vilochani

    I am so sorry for ur loss, Mr. Loner..
    she is so talented…but unfortunately she is bringing a bad image of lanka to the World..
    I am sri lankan sinhalese…I never knew the difference between tamil and sinhala..not only did I have both types of freinds I speak both languages fluently..Please dont confuse these LTTE murduers/rapists/babykillers/liars for Tamils cause there are not…I love the tamil cultural as well as sinhala..My parents are very liberal..and I thank them for giving me and my brothers the chance to know their tamil freinds so we will never fall for this crap…life is short people why fight when we can live…peacefully together..I HATE U LTTE…u all are destroying our beautiful country…

  46. August 9, 2008, 3:51 pm Janani Jayawardana

    I Completely agree with vilochani … I too am a Sri Lankan Sinhalese … But i never seen the difference Between a Sinhalese and a Tamil in Sri lanka… LTTE are completely different from the Tamils… they want their a part of Sri Lanka they want a land, their Territory !! They wana separate state.. The LTTE dont wana live together as one ( in Peace and Harmony )with the rest of the people in SL !! LTTE is the minority in Sri Lanka.. and they wana make the whole world Alert and want the whole World to focus on them.. wana b the Centre of attention..! Brain washed people… they make children to make them soldiers and Suicide bombers ..! since December 2007 the bombing in SL has risen so much… the Sri lankan Recidents think 10 times before gettin out of their houses! is this the island which is know and PEarl of the Indian ocean… and a PAradise..!!??
    M.I.A… she’s Beautiful and Talented… and she has stood up for her self.. we all appreciate that…! BUT its wrong to put SRI LANKA down in this Article… Sinhalese and tamils dont want war .. we wana live in PEACE .. its the LTTE whos forcing the Govt to take such steps…

    Innocent people Die daily cuz of this unreasonable Fight for LAND!

    Wish Maya All the best for her future….
    and Hope this War end ASAP … and the LTTE gets some Brain!!

  47. August 10, 2008, 7:39 am deioo

    i love her :X:X

  48. August 10, 2008, 4:37 pm judge

    Singhalase government should stop genocide of Tamils. LTTE did not started the war. It is the successive Singhalse government started to discriminate Tamils and made Tamils as a second class citizen. LTTE was formed to stand up against the systematic state oppression.
    Tamil Eelam is the solution to this ethnic problem were both community can live in respect, peace and harmony.

  49. August 11, 2008, 11:40 pm KJ

    @ Judge
    Try to look past the slogans, eh?
    Does teaching Tamil in every school alongside Singhala sound like systematic oppression? Do bilingual signage and government correspondence? Do free rehabilitation services for the victims of LTTE terror? What about clearing mines from liberated Tamil owned farmland? How is any of that oppression?

    What about kidnapping of children and turning then into soldiers ( source: UNICEF), ethnic cleansing of Muslims in the North, unrelenting attacks in civillians who have never done anything to anyone, a campaign of assassinations of any Tamil leaders who date question the legitimacy of self appointed LTTE?
    THAT sure sounds like systematic oppression to me.

    Bottom line- The LTTE is illegitimate. It’s “mandate” is achieved by deceit, murder, and ethnic cleansing. It does not represent all the Tamils in SL, regardless of how many opposition leaders they kill.

  50. August 14, 2008, 10:53 pm vilochani

    thanks Janani Jayawardana for agreeing with…me…if we can all work as a family..a big lankan family we can send this LTTE murders to hell….and KJ i couldnt have put it better…u are very right my freind…and once again LTTE we all hate u…and for the pain and suffering u bring not only to our sinhalesse brothers and sisters but to our tamil brothers and sisters as well…go to HELL…

  51. August 21, 2008, 7:12 am MIA is the best

    M.I.A. is the best.
    The best music. She has a very bright future. ‘nuf said. (Her record sales will show that.)

    No surprises here that the Sinhalese can’t hide their hatred towards a TAMIL Sri Lankan.

    Compare this to all the support and love Tamils show towards Sinhala people, like the Cricket team for example.

  52. September 5, 2008, 11:22 pm janik soto

    I think this girl rocks, I’m from the u.s. and she is bring a whole new style to the table, plus it make’s sense, out here everything that come’s out on the radio is all the same thing basically, it’s a bout time someboby break’s the mold

  53. September 6, 2008, 11:24 pm Tashara

    OHHH MYY GOODD ii love yerr musicc it like super tiqht.!

  54. September 10, 2008, 6:01 pm Allaboutit

    Luv Maya as a musician, an artist and as a strong human being. Dis-like people voicing opinoins on things they have not researched properly, i.e. about the validity of the LTTE’s motives. For those above who may be blinded…Please see:
    http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=87vMv7suDmk

  55. September 12, 2008, 9:50 pm Breeona

    I love M.I.A. i’m so happy for her with the whole paper planes song and i will always support her

  56. September 13, 2008, 8:32 pm Monica

    Wow Arulpragasam is one of the most talented and inspirational women in he music bussiness. Her music is so refreshing compared to the crap you hear on the radio. I hate rap like music but i love hers theres so much soul and such an amazing message. If i could i would love to thank her for giving me faith that music that actually has depth and soul is still being made. Hope she comes to Canada.

  57. September 16, 2008, 1:52 am Tumi

    I only discovered M.I.A this year, literally weeks ago and Im in love with her music, she is trull amazing…I have not heard anything like her music, she’s trully an inspiration. Keep up the good work, you’re sum’n special.

  58. September 18, 2008, 3:00 am Rajinder

    I have no idea why you guys posted this. She isn’t Indian. Shes from Sri Lanka. Not only that she supports the LTTE who was responsible for Rajiv Gandhis death. This girl is nowhere near attractive btw.

  59. September 18, 2008, 11:41 pm KJ

    Last I checked, Rajinder, this magazine deals with South Asian issues in general. If you look at a map, Sri Lanka is in South Asia. Sorry, but India isn’t all there is in South Asia.

  60. September 22, 2008, 2:32 am SenorBongo

    Oh jesus, this has plummeted so far from anything useful. So far that I have decided to do illicit substances, drink, and read these posts with my friends. Mostly while listening to Electronic Dance Music.

    Towards the end one of them even posted a photoshopped image. I think that’s where it got me. Good Game! You guys definitely win, even if it’s only because I’m watching the colors on my screen and am far too intoxicated to fight with any of you.

    To be completely honest, I’m going to bookmark this page and come back to read the responses. While intoxicated, with good friends, alchohol, and trusty Big Beats.

    Every once in a while we’ll listen to M.I.A while doing so. But it’s mostly just funny.

    That is to say, I’ve been laughing so hard I can barely breathe.

  61. September 23, 2008, 9:40 pm lani

    m.i.a is totally the coolest person alive. and i love her clothes. i wish i could hear her songs more on the radio tho…..too bad some of those ignorant retards think shes a terrorist. shes trying to help. and shes doin a great job…her music is better than anything else on the radio. i got bored of katy perry and leona lewis right away – you can never got bored of m.i.a’s music.

  62. September 24, 2008, 3:26 pm angie

    yea she’s good

  63. September 25, 2008, 8:02 am shehaan

    haha she better change her story cause the LTTE is going down!! lol who knows maybe she d also take to being a suicide bomber

  64. October 1, 2008, 7:12 pm mac

    yo she a monsta so is lyte day is da beastiest check it out FUCK KIVA haha
    and she fine

  65. October 5, 2008, 8:12 pm BRAGGABWOY

    Keep doing your thing. Regardless HIP-HOP Dancehall Soca. They all songs for the oppressed people. I can will and is changing the face of humanity. By the way as far as looks your so fukin LAVA. Its rediculous. Come to Brooklyn. My parents is from Trinidand so you no I love A CURRY PRIINCESS. hOLLA

  66. October 5, 2008, 8:12 pm BRAGGABWOY

    Keep doing your thing. Regardless HIP-HOP Dancehall Soca. They all songs for the oppressed people. I can will and is changing the face of humanity. By the way as far as looks your so fukin LAVA. Its rediculous. Come to Brooklyn. My parents is from Trinidand so you no I love A CURRY PRIINCESS. hOLLA

  67. October 8, 2008, 7:49 pm Kaila

    OMG i love her and she is so gorgeous not trying to be rude but she looks Indian to me but love the song paper planes one of the best songs yet

    LOVE YA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  68. October 16, 2008, 12:20 am risho

    Her songs are cool, very hiphop… but all what she says about Sri Lanka can not be taken in 100% context. everyone goes thru shit in life… but she is lucky she got out….
    the world should really google the LTTE War and draw their own opinion of it…

    But sure she is talented…

  69. October 22, 2008, 5:29 pm cassandra

    This just made me love her even more! No homo!
    She’s awsome.

  70. October 26, 2008, 1:02 pm susan delroy

    I’ve never heard someone with a voice worse than MIA…you can’t call that singing it hurts my ears everything I hear it…..I’m not from Sri Lanka but I’ve read up on this topic and she’s definitely not a REFUGEE…she’s a TERRORIST, she believes in innocent children dying, in fact that’s why she can’t think of any other lyrics than dumb ignorant ones like “all I wanna do is go bang bang bang”…..too bad she doesn’t have half the brain to learn form her experiences in Sri Lanka, but I mean you can’t blame her for having a good for nothing terrorist father….she’s probably a bastard child anyways because that’s how those tamil terroritsts work….they have no respect for their women let alone innocent people of Sri Lanka

  71. November 14, 2008, 10:09 am brook

    M.I.A girl I love you I listen to paperplanes everyday on music choice. please come to chicago .we love u here. Don’t let people in the states steal your music for their fame okay , please keep making beautiful music. I’m 27 years old and I love to meet u one day. come to chicago please

  72. December 31, 2008, 11:18 pm dianna

    i luv mia for what she is and what she does… juss tell her that for me plz… bye

    -l4d!! D!! m!ond$ luv$ paper planes

  73. January 2, 2009, 10:51 pm Lexi Stamos

    I love Maya, every one of her songs is awesome. I could listen to it every day for the rest of my life!!! THANK YOU FOR MAKING MUSIC!!

  74. January 14, 2009, 11:00 pm Violet

    cool music really love her songs.

  75. January 16, 2009, 10:41 am wanda

    I LOVE U M.I.A……I’M A BIG FAN & I’M FROM USA….I LUV UR STYLE GURL….KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK…IF U EVER CUM TO SOUTH CAROLINA I WILL B THERE…