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Mathangi "Maya" Arulpragasam, (born 17 July 1977 in Hounslow, London, U.K.) is a British artist of Sri Lankan descent. As a baby she moved with her family to their native Sri Lanka, where her father became increasingly politically active in militant activities. As the Civil War escalated the rest of the family was forced to flee as refugees, first to India and then the UK. "M.I.A." references both her London neighborhood (Acton) and her politically tumultuous youth.

Her style contains elements of hip-hop, reggae, dance hall, electro and baile funk and is strongly inspired by her Sri Lankan background.

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