INTERVIEW AND IMAGES: LARA PIRAS
Singer-songwriter, rapper, record producer, video director, visual artist, activist and fashion designer. Phew. M.I.A. is a force to be reckoned with. She gets bad press due to her, what seems to be, forceful way of expressing political ideals. But what she is actually doing is cunningly using her faculty to get through to the youth of today. Clever, no?
But I’m not here to talk about politics. I went to ‘shack out’ with the woman at Brixton Academy and, boy, did I shack out.
The thing that struck me the most about this gig was how M.I.A. would start behind her lecturn to preach her lyrics to us (as seen in the photo below). She also spent the first half hour in her version of a burkah. It felt as though you were in her classroom or attending her sermon. It forced you to listen to what she had to say as opposed to bopping along to her rhythmic, deep, dirty bass.
The stand out tracks were Teqkilla, Boyz where a dozen of her disciples were hauled up on the stage to religiously put their hands up in the air. She also tempted us with her epic anthem Paper Planes and not to forget the chilling Born Free. And where did she get her dancers from? I’ve never seen two double-jointed boys with so much energy. I think they were two of the people she featured in her once-banned video. You know the one.
So we heard tracks from all three of her albums which was nice. Visually arousing, energetic, informative and thought provoking. However short it was, she still killed it. All hail M.I.A.