An unstoppable force met an immovable object on The Colbert Report last night (November 20), when M.I.A. squared off against Stephen Colbert for an interview. The late-night host quizzed the Matangi mastermind about her opinions on America — uh, she’s pro-Bob Dylan and Public Enemy — and demanded to know why the Sri Lankan firebrand mixes music with politics. “It’s dance music,” Colbert accurately pointed out. “Just let me get up there and shake it. Do I have to dance and think about the Kumudini boat massacre of 1985?”
When the faux-pundit wondered why Maya Arulpragasam also dabbles in the visual arts, the SPIN profile subject shrugged and responded, “That’s what refugees do, we’re multi-faceted.” She was less composed when Colbert asked her thoughts on his persona. “I don’t know,” M.I.A. said, looking legitimately speechless for a moment. “I’ve never watched the show.”
After bringing Colbert nearly to tears with that revelation, M.I.A. performed a double-header for the studio audience, singing Matangi highlights “Y.A.L.A.” and, as a Web exclusive, “Come Walk With Me.” Watch the Q&A segment above, and scroll down for the performance footage (which, thanks to camera filter effects, comes drenched in the Matangi cover art’s red-and-green color scheme).
Elsewhere on the late-night circuit, U.K. soulstress Jessie Ware dropped in on Conan to perform her Devotion stunner “Running”; CHVRCHES closed out Jimmy Kimmel Live! with the “The Mother We Share” and “Lies,” both from their outstanding debut album, The Bones of What You Believe; and Charlie Wilson went solo on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, returning to the NBC stage sans “Bound 2” collaborator Kanye West, to sail through “I Still Have You,” a breezy smooth-talker from his latest LP, this year’s Love, Charlie. Find all of those clips below.