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Kala


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Music

Image of album by M.I.A.

Photos

Image of M.I.A.

Biography

Once there was a girl named Matangi. This was 5000 years ago. Her father was an untouchable fearsome fighter and was a sage who gained sublime power through ascetic practice over thousands of years, and Matangi became known as a goddess of music and spoken word; she wasn’t a warrior but rather a minister sometimes referred to as the Queen of Queens. She spoke truth to power by ... Read more in Amazon's M.I.A. Store

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for 19 albums, 3 photos, discussions, and more.

Frequently Bought Together

Kala + Arular + Matangi
Price For All Three: £25.43

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Product details

  • Audio CD (20 Aug. 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: XL
  • ASIN: B000T7QX78
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 27,363 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Bamboo Banga
2. BirdFlu
3. Boyz
4. Jimmy
5. Hussel (featuring Afrikan Boy)
6. Mango Pickle Down River
7. (with the Wilcannia Mob)
8. 20 Dollar
9. World Town
10. The Turn
11. XR2
12. Paper Planes
13. (with the Wilcannia Mob)

Product Description

Product Description

STANDARD EDITION : Fearless 2007 album of righteous hip hop 'n' dislocated dancehall! Includes "Paper Planes".

BBC Review

Born in Hounslow, raised in her family home of Sri Lanka, and then on the run in India, Mathangi 'Maya' Arulpragasam's music is as variegated as would be expected. It's mostly coming from London and The Bronx, but there are still liberal samplings of Eastern ethnic music, both purist and populist. M.I.A. (which sometimes stands for Missing In Action) is very influenced by her Tamil father's militant past in Sri Lanka, and this uppity vibration is injected into her music, in both serious and comic ways. Maya's also a painter and graffiti artist. Look at her website through sunglasses!

This disc was mostly recorded in Chennai, India, and it shows. M.I.A. was holed up in a Bollywood studio, and so she was doubtless free to sample real live players, with an emphasis on booming dhol drummers. The whole album is churning with diced-up audio debris, Maya rapping sullenly and dangerously across a remarkably kinetic soundstage. She's got the tone just right, between hardcore political critique and gleefully stupid wordplay. She's nimble in delivery, and in the penning of the lines themselves.

The opening "Bamboo Banga" tightens the knot with poised tension, constricting as its pulsing beats build, hinting at Jonathan Richman's "Roadrunner", and full of her usual self-referencing lyrics. The layers mount up, with a freaky new element introduced at 20 second intervals. "Bird Flu" is packed with deranged chorus vocals, packing a savage punch. The single "Boyz" comes over like a crazed adult nursery rhyme, then she cuts to Indo-Japanese disco cheese (in a reggae stylee) for "Jimmy", a cover of an actual 1982 Bollywood movie number. Fancy some Algerian rai synth worms? "Hussel" has plenty. Meanwhile, the pretty unique "Mango Pickle Down River" mixes Aboriginal didgeridu with early Public Enemy, complete with manic child rapping. Sometimes, the album sound is snipped down to one or two elements, at others, it's milling with a mashed-up sample smörgåsbord. With this second album, M.I.A. is moving at a startling rate... --Martin Longley

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Joseph Devine on 13 Aug. 2007
Format: Audio CD
nearly three years on from her wild debut album Arular (and her mixtape with Diplo) M.I.A. has, with Kala, proven that she is an artist of great creativity and substance. With these new songs she has created an equally provocative record as her debut, if not more so, as this album melds more styles together in more unusual ways. Opener Bamboo Banga sets the scene and has the listener hooked as soon as the pulsing ragga rhythms take hold. "M.I.A. is coming back with POWER POWER!" she chants, over a tinny bollywood sample, and she is certainly right. The next track is Bird Flu, a song I liked but didn't quite know what to make of when it first dropped several months ago over the internet, but in the context of the album it makes alot more sense and segues well into Switch produced BOYZ, her current single, which is surely one of her best tracks and an absolutely huge stomping piece of work. 'Jimmy' is a cover of a classic Bollywood tune from Disco Dancer and adds a touch of tongue in cheek light heartedness to all the thumping clanging beats and viscerally eclectic instrumentation. As the album progresses the scope becomes yet wider, with didgeridoo-based raps(Mango Pickle Down River featuring the Wilcannia Mob, whose rapping is delightful, resulting in a playful collaboration), dub-step influenced mash-ups of classic rock tunes ('blue monday' meets 'where is my mind' both go together into a dark and intense melting pot to create 20 Dollar), stabbing synths and rolling rhythms (XR2) and her trademark political poetry. Further collaborations are with Afrikan Boy (raucous synthplosion 'Hussel') and Timbaland (the sleek album closer 'Come Around) add yet more diverse influences to an already busy album, yet it never gets too much.Read more ›
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 29 Aug. 2007
Format: Audio CD
M.I.A. is colour, rap, dance, wild jungle rhythms and a mad fusion style. The Sri Lankan rapper blew people away with her debut album, but she's actually topped herself in "Kala" -- she takes the same ingredients as before and smashes them together into a wilder, tighter album full of deliciously wild electro-funk-rap with a world-music flair.

"Road runner, road runner/Going hundred mile per hour/With your radio oooonnnnnn," she drawls detachedly over a skittering beat and the sound of racing engines.

The dancey beat kicks in, as she announces, "I'm big timer, it's the bamboo banga/You'll be hungry like the wolves hunting dinner dinner/And we're moving with the packs like hyena ena..." Things really blossom with the next two songs, the frenetic tribal rhythms of "Bird Flu," and the Bollywood-dance, horn-heavy "Boyz."

Having hooked us in with three catchy songs, she expands her sound further: funky hip-hop, disco, distorted grimy raps, playfully violent pop, detached raps over electronic anthems, tribal house, and combinations of all of the above. It ends with a mellow, catchy tune that seems to be contradicting the whole album's mood, with M.I.A. saying "Calm down calm down CALM down!"

In the end, "Kala" is actually kind of intoxicating -- M.I.A. crams so much sound into less than an hour that it's almost a shock when your speakers go silent. Stylewise she hasn't changed much at all, but somehow the music is tighter and smoother, with fewer rough patches.

Her music is the most astounding part, splattering styles like a musical Jackson Pollock -- reggae, afrobeat, traditional Asian music, house, hip-hop, Bollywood, and funk.
Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Famously feisty (the superbowl incident is just one example), the back story to this album is as interesting as the artist herself. I won't go into it (my review is about the music), and I want to tell you that, as a dance album, it offers something completely imaginative.
It provides eastern asian music with a dance sensibility and rhythm and a lot of firepower (plus some grrl power). The music just explodes in some places and the hooks here are catchy (you'll hum paper planes all day once hearing it).
Who would like this? Dance music fans who want something different than the Ibiza club sound and Diplo fans would like this too (he's on production duty here...)
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful By H. Bowles on 18 Sept. 2007
Format: Audio CD
What can you say about m.i.a? she's so unique and original, it's really refreshing to hear music like that, with real meaning. This album is unlike any other album I own, it almost creates its own genre; not quite hip hop, not quite electronic but somewhere in between. It's a shame she's not as popular and well known as she deserves to be, but then it's like having this artist as your own musical secret, the music might get ruined if she became too mainstream. Skip straight to 'paper planes', a musical masterpiece, you'll love it!
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By M on 15 May 2014
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
After Arular, this album takes MIA to another level of awesomeness. My fav MIA album to date (2014), this has got a great hip-hop feel throughout, but also draws massive influences from African and Indian music to good effect. It has the hit single 'Paper Planes' but the rest of the album maintains the standard well, which is rare for albums these days.
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