After some teasing over the past week, M.I.A. has debuted a new project called Matahdatah with a video dubbed “Matahdatah Scroll 01 ‘Broader Than A Border’.” It was shot in West India and Africa and features traditional dancers from both locales, along with shots of M.I.A. sitting among it all. The video incorporates a new song called “Swords” (which leaked in demo form over the weekend) and her Matangi track “Warriors.” The video of the African dancer very well could be the footage that M.I.A. said was blocked by her label due to concerns over “cultural appropriation,” but that’s not entirely clear. As with most things that M.I.A. puts out, the visuals are pretty stunning. Watch below via Apple Music.
UPDATE: A press release reveals that Matahdatah is also the title of M.I.A.’s upcoming audio-visual album:
“Matahdatah Scroll 01 ‘Broader Than A Border'” is the first in a series of truly global and characteristically DIY M.I.A. releases over the coming months. Each bundle will feature a collection of new M.I.A. songs, each accompanied by videos directed and edited by M.I.A. herself with each video filmed in a different country. The individual sections will ultimately come together to form Matahdatah — a full-length album and film experience about borders.
Here’s a statement on the project from M.I.A. herself:
I directed and edited my first music video for “Warriors” for my last album, MATANGI, and I held it back until now, because it inspired me to make a whole series of songs and videos on the concept of borders. Making songs and videos at the same time out of a suitcase on location is something I did on my album KALA, but it’s video, as well as music, made by me in a very ARULAR way.
My new song “Swords” was filmed in a Temple in India and we recorded the clang of the metal to make the beat at the same time as shooting these incredible girls. There’s ten more of these countries coming and I haven’t chased where to go yet, so who knows where this project will take me. “Warriors” was shot in Cote d’Ivoire with a guy I saw in a youtube video doing the most incredible dancing. I tracked down that exact guy, flew out there and played him the “Warriors” track. He did his thing for me. He is a spiritual warrior and communicates through dancing. It’s a lifelong commitment for him to be the designated spiritual body that channels that dance.
The concept for this LP is ”broader then a border” and MATAHDATAH is the journal of MATANGI. Sometimes I move vertical and sometimes I move horizontal.
“Matahdatah Scroll 01 ‘Broader Than A Border'” is available for purchase at iTunes.