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Date: Sep 06 2010

Themes: Music, Pop Culture

Grammar: Adverbs


1. Learn Vocabulary - Learn some new vocabulary before you start the lesson.

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2. Read and Prepare - Read the introduction and prepare to hear the audio.

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In her music and style, M.I.A. mixes fun and politics. The Sri Lankan singer is the daughter of a revolutionary and also spent much of her childhood as a refugee in England. These days, she’s one of the world’s most creative and outrageous stars. Last year, she performed in a skin-tight dress alongside Jay-Z at the Grammys...while nine months pregnant!

M.I.A. creates electronic music. She likes to include rare instruments and rhythms, though you can often dance to it.

Her music also has a message. But unlike stars like Bono, M.I.A. isn’t purely about peace. Her name comes from a military saying, “missing in action.” She supports revolutionaries in places like her home country, Sri Lanka. This upsets some people. Find out if Beren and Devan are among them.


1. Listen and Read - Listen to the audio and read the dialog at the same time.

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2. Study - Read the dialog again to see how the vocab words are used.





Beren:  Have you heard the new M.I.A. album?

Devan:  Not the whole album. I saw the video for “Born Free.”

Beren:  I’ve always liked M.I.A. I thought she was pretty good at incorporating different genres and influences. She does a mish-mash of world music with ‘80s hip-hop, you know, like heavy beats.

Devan:  Yeah, dance and hip-hop and then like this world, like Afrobeat and all these things you can see her Sri Lankan roots in her music and then also her English roots from when she lived there. It’s definitely a mixed bag of things going on.

Beren:  She does it pretty seamlessly. She’s able to bring world music to a broader audience and make it palatable.

Devan:  Right. But what do you think about the recent controversy with her interview in The New York Times?

Beren:  See, I have to admit, that’s kind of made me rethink…Like, I still appreciate her music, but I think she takes this overly political stance. Then when you read the New York Times article it’s like, ah, she’s also a very smart capitalist.

Devan:  Yeah. And it also made me question how much of the writing of her own music she actually does herself, you know?

Beren:  Exactly.

Devan:  ...or if she just kind of comes in and lets other people create the music for her and says, “I like this, I don’t like this,” because I was always giving her credit for coming up with all these great ideas.

Beren:  ...when really, she might be the Sri Lankan Britney Spears.

Devan:  Yes.


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Beren and Devan like that M.I.A.’s music combines many different styles. They think she does a good job of including different sounds in a way that is nice to listen to.

However, after reading about some of M.I.A.’s political beliefs, Beren isn’t sure she likes the singer as much as she used to. She also wonders if M.I.A. really writes her own music or if she has a little too much help from people around her.

What kind of music from your country should M.I.A. include on her next album? Do you like music with a political message?



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Dominican Republic

Thats interesting

01:44 PM Mar 22 2011 |

mr sonthana

Lao People's Democratic Republic

It is very difficult for me that i will understand it about M.I.A and i don't know  definition its.

08:59 AM Nov 02 2010 |


El Salvador

this is the first time i hear about MIA and still i dont know who she/he really is?

06:10 PM Oct 27 2010 |



 M.I.A. has visited brazil once, and I can tell you that she was a great success here, he mixes brazilian funk beats (or miami beats) in her songs so it is so nice, the politcals messages are her trademark, I like it.

02:32 AM Sep 12 2010 |




11:22 PM Sep 07 2010 |



Russian Federation

I don't like the video of "Born Free" but the music is good. Just crazy. May be she should try to mix smth with russian folk songs. There were some succesful efforts in the past like band Baba Yaga with song So Ends Another Day.

06:57 PM Sep 07 2010 |




i enjoy listening M.I.A. she has a strong lyrics which empress everyone i think. her music is very original and unusual. exactly that i appreciate in music.

03:35 PM Sep 07 2010 |




I don't listen to M.I.A's songs but I could notice presence of brazilian beat funk in some her musics hehe…In Brazil,our 80's music history was marked by many bands writing many political lyrics…I guess was the best phase of brazilian rock music,not because the lyrics said about policy but because songs were better prepared…I like pretty much rock brazilian songs from 80's I have heard till today :)

12:19 AM Sep 07 2010 |



Iran, Islamic Republic Of

well music is a way to say what you wana the others hear, why not political messages?


11:10 PM Sep 06 2010 |



Iran, Islamic Republic Of

political musics are banned in our country

04:10 PM Sep 06 2010 |




i don't like music with too many politic messages,it sucks.

02:49 PM Sep 06 2010 |



United States

It is very difficult problem.

01:00 PM Sep 06 2010 |



i never knew about MIA until i read this lesson…but i kind of don't like people with too much guts to do absurd things like she did on grammys…

11:42 AM Sep 06 2010 |



Viet Nam

I only know M.I.A from the song "Paper Planes" in Slumdog Millionaire. I listen to whatever music that catches my ears, so to me it doesn't matter if a song is politically lyrical or not. But quite a number of my favorite songs are messagy (You're the voice, What's going on…) so I guess I like music with a political message :D

08:43 AM Sep 06 2010 |



South Korea

M.I.A ?? Who is MIA? it's my first time listening about her.

music includes some political message~  sounds good~

I wanna listen to her music, music should have message, which might change the world I think. 

07:11 AM Sep 06 2010 |


Hong Kong

I like music,I always listen music with positive message that make me feel good.

04:14 AM Sep 06 2010 |

Iris Figueroa

El Salvador

I really think that I don't like his music, but it would interezante listen… that a good English lesson! Laughing

02:42 AM Sep 06 2010 |

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