Politics and music have always been uneasy bedfellows, but 27-year-old Maya Arulpragasam knows about unease. The Sri Lankan native's family fled that country's civil war for Britain more than 20 years ago, and her father -- linked to the divisive revolutionary outfit the Tamil Tigers -- remains M.I.A., a moniker Maya has adopted for her equally revolutionary debut. Emerging from the same urban wilderness as the Streets and Dizzee Rascal -- and putting those two to shame -- M.I.A.'s Arular is fearless and aggressive. She knocks listeners unconscious with her snarling, confrontational approach: part Jamaican dancehall toaster, part dirty American rapper, part monastic Tibetan chanter, part British jungle MC. She also disguises her very serious lyrical messages in what sounds like borderline nonsense; her topics range from teenage prostitution to war, all spit-rough and ready over punky electro rhythms. Arular's cut-and-paste feel and politically fraught nursery-rhyme babble bring to mind toys made of tin in crowded wholesale shops and Third World markets: noisy, manmade, harsh, and difficult to ignore.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.
More Music News
- 9 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Weekend
Fri., Dec. 4, 8:00pm
Sat., Dec. 5, 8:00pm
Sun., Dec. 6, 3:00pm
Sun., Dec. 6, 7:30pm
- Cave Creek's Legendary Buffalo Chip Saloon Destroyed by "Suspicious" Fire
- 16 Places to Drink on Thanksgiving in Phoenix