British hip-hop artist Mathangi Arulpragasam, better known as MIA, lamented about how much she missed Sri Lanka where she was born and bred before the ethnic conflict forced their family to flee the country.
On her way to perform at the Salt Lake City in the United States over the weekend, MIA expressed her frustration at not being able to do enough to help in the situation in Sri Lanka, US newspapers reported.
`I hope to help more people, and get more kids involved in music. Sometimes I get so frustrated that I don`t do enough to help the situation in Sri Lanka. But I am afraid it`s something that could get me killed. It`s so lawless trying to go down there in the state that it`s in now.`
`Growing up was very family-based and community-based,` she said. `That is what I miss about leaving Sri Lanka.`
Now spending much of her time in New York City, where she is building her own label, MIA was overawed about being booked at centres like El Paso and Salt Lake City.
`I didn`t think my music had gotten that far,` she said.
MIA topped Rolling Stone`s list of the 50 best albums of 2007. Her second genre-defying album, `Kala` even topped household names like Bruce Springsteen, Kanye West and Radiohead.
The Kala sound track might have been directly or indirectly influenced by her father s revolutionary thinking as an ardent member of the LTTE depicting a people s struggle. It could be described as dancehall world music with a hip-hop rhythm and samples of everything from Pink Floyd to birds, while the artist sings and raps politically tinged lyrics in her unique Cockney-meets-Bollywood voice.
She was still a child when her family moved from Sri Lanka to India and then to London where she lived for several years. Her diverse interests in school led her to painting what s known as album art having first visited the United States with British band Elastica after creating its second album cover art -- filmmaking and fashion.
`I have always had the premonition that I may not make it to 32 or something,` she said. `I used to tell my mom that I have to do everything like I am doing it for the last time.`
Despite her constant moving around, since January Mathangi Arulpragasam has been living in Brookyln`s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighbourhood which is a more stable place than she has ever lived for some time. By her estimation, it`s the longest she`s lived in the same place in years.
Of course, her visa runs out in June, but by then she`ll be knee-deep in producing her third album and still fretting over her social responsibilities.
While MIA`s musicals might feel like riots, they`re actually unifying, strengthening experiences. It`s just that on the surface, the crowd appears to be tearing themselves apart.