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M.I.A. Biography & Photos

Mathangi “Maya” Arulpragasam (born July 17, 1977 in Hounslow, London) is an English singer, who under the symbol MIA occurs, which refers both to the acronym missing in action (in the Anglo-American language the status of missing soldiers) and is Missing in Acton (Acton as the neighborhood in London, the Maya once lived).
M.I.A. the Siren Music Festival, July 2007


Her parents were from Sri Lanka, where they again dragged on, when Maya was six months old. Her father, Arul Pragasam (after the first album “Arular” is named) then joined the paramilitary organization Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. Her mother pulls later with the Maya and her other daughter, ten-year stay in London again, where it first in a refugee home. After her graduation she studied at London’s St. Martins College of Art, art and film.

From the musician Peaches learns the musical possibilities of the Groovebox know and start a little later to make music.

The second panel is named after her mother, Maya Kala.

Their music is difficult to assign a single genre, it is between hip-hop, dancehall, grime and electro. She has already worked several times with the American musician and DJ Diplo together – for example on the album “Arular”, on which Diplo produced the track “Bucky Done Gun,” which was published in 2005 as a single.

2009 she wrote and interpreted the song “O … Saya” from the film Slumdog Millionaire, together with the Indian musician AR Rahman. The song was nominated for an Oscar for best movie song that won the song “Jai Ho” from the same film. Their most successful single “Paper Planes” was also used in the film.


MIAs artistic work, especially including their texts have also led to controversy. Thus, the music channel MTV refused to play her video “Sunshowers” as long as they do not remove a passage which refers to the Palestine Liberation Organization. In the song rapping M.I.A. “Like PLO, I Do not Surrender” – “I never give up, like the PLO.” In April / May 2006 was given a visa to enter the United States denied. Exact reasons for the refusal of entry were not disclosed.

MTV has also arbitrarily changed after the creation of the video for “Paper Planes” the recurring sequence of four revolver shots from youth protection through a more pleasing and less bellicose sound sample. The artist was pretty angry.


* 2004: Piracy Funds Terrorism Vol 1
* 2005: Arular (Billboard 200: # 190, Top Electronic Albums: # 3, Top Heatseekers: # 14 Top Independent Albums: # 16)
* 2007: Kala (Billboard 200: # 18, Top Electronic Albums: # 1; DE: # 93; UK: # 39

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