MATANGI / MAYA / M.I.A

I recently had the opportunity to watch a biographical documentary on the Sri Lankan musician M.I.A. Growing up I had always looked up to M.I.A for various reasons. In fact, I think many South Asian’s who grew up in the 2000’s did as well. I remember watching her music video for “Galang” playing on MTV and realizing that it was one of the first times I had seen any South Asian representation on TV and in music. I also looked up to her for her activism and how she used her music as a platform to express a message about the many injustices that were taking place around the world and to provide a refreshing take on the immigrant and refugee narrative.

The documentary did an amazing job in compiling personal footage from her youth and journey within the music industry and provided an amazing insight into the inspiration and message behind her music. M.I.A created amazing and catchy music that was appreciated around the world which led to her popularity and fame. The film shows an aspect of her career and life that the industry was trying to hide. It demonstrated her upbringing as a refugee in the UK as well her family’s involvement in the Sri Lankan Civil War. Seeing her experiences and activism demonstrated the difficulty of being in the industry and trying to create something different or against what was considered normal. It showed how M.I.A chose not to be just another artist in the industry by creating alternative music that promoted an alternative message.

Below is a playlist of my favourite M.I.A songs

Giving up coffee for a month

#GiveItUp4Peace

I’m currently sitting in a coffee shop enjoying my first coffee in a month. For the entire month of October, I participated in PeaceGeeks#GiveItUp4Peace campaign and gave up coffee to raise money for projects like the Pathways App which helps newcomers settle in Canada and Meshkat Community which empowers youth in the MENA region to challenge polarization in online spaces.

I decided to give up coffee because of how much it had become a part of my everyday life. I wanted to give up something that I would think about daily and that would disrupt my day-to-day routine. On September 30th I had my last cup of coffee and expected the worst to come.

It wasn’t easy. Every morning I would pass by a cafe on my way to work or school and feel slightly uneasy, like something was missing. I would join my friends at coffee shops and be forced to order tea while they indulged in their espressos and americanos. Coffee had become such an integral and constant part of my routine that it felt impossible to go without it.

Despite all the hardship, I was glad to experience it. It made me realize how we take many of the comforts in our life for granted. It made me reflect on how many people had to give up much bigger things such as their homes, jobs, family and friends in the pursuit of peace and helped me grasp the extent of the struggle and sacrifice that they face on a daily basis.

While I am indulging in my coffee in the comfort of this cafe, I realized one more thing. After my month of giving coffee was over, I could go back. It made me understand that many people don’t have that same privilege. Part of the reason I took part in this campaign is to help those who are unsure if they can get back the things they have had to give up. I wanted to support projects like the Pathways App to help newcomers settle in Canada and help them find housing, work and most importantly a community they can belong to so that they are able to get back at least a little bit of what they have had to give up in the pursuit of peace.

If you would like more information on projects like these or would like to contribute, visit peacegeeks.org

Bollyhood

Rap and Hip-Hop have become some of the most prominent genres of the music worldwide but is unfortunately predominantly produced in America. However, in the last few years there has been a push from south asians to contribute to the genre. Thus there is the creation of the sub-genre of Desi Hip-Hop or Bollyhood. Although I am not personally a huge fan of Rap and Hip-Hop, I think Bollyhood is of of the most unique and diverse genres of music. Bollyhood music has been produced in various countries in South Asia as well as in the UK and North America which has created music in languages from Hindi, Punjabi, Bengali, Tamil and English with various styles from old school hip-hop to grime and trap rap. It’s also interesting to see the various Desi elements and influences found in Bollyhood music such as hindustani classical, Hindu devotional, folk and Bollywood. Despite how new the genre of music is, artists like Raja Kumari, Raxstar, Feteh and DIVINE have already gained international acclaim which has caused Bollyhood music to become increasingly popular and one of the largest growing genres in the industry.

Bellow is a playlist of my favourite Bollyhood Songs


Revolver

Revolver, Located in the heart of Vancouver's Gastown, has become one of the most well known cafés in the city. The café has done a tremendous job in setting itself apart from its competition. Revolver features an extensive rotating menu of coffees from various geographic regions around the world allowing you to experience something different every time you visit them. Revolver has nailed down their brewing methods to a science. Each cup of coffee is precisely measured and brewed using the pour-over method resulting in a very smooth cup of coffee with vibrant flavour profiles. Revolver also features amazing espresso based drinks as well as an assortment of teas. The café also has a lovely rustic atmosphere and always has great music playing!

Parekh & Singh

Parekh and Singh are a music duo from Kolkata, India. They are an alternative rock band who mostly create dream pop music. In terms of lyrics and melody, Parekh and Singh are one of my favorite bands. The vocals are crisp and dreamy with lyrics that ponder over life and existence. The band is also at the forefront of the rising indie music scene in India and have done a tremendous job of introducing the genre to people in the region while producing music that is loved globally. They also have created beautiful music videos with very lovely aesthetics.

Included below is their debut album, Ocean.