World music mix-masters Shad Rabbani and Boris Granich's second foray into the fusion of Middle Eastern and Hispanic music is an even better sequel to the interesting Baila Habibi, Vol. 1. Although the running time is almost an hour, the songs feel more compact and adhere more to Western pop music forms than on the first album. Again, a variety of Latin and Middle Eastern artists perform, including Mera, Gipsy Kaly, Dany Achkar, Marisol, Lui La Fe, and Shad Rabbani. Spoiler warning: the opening track, "Yo Vivere," is the Spanish-language version of a familiar American late-'70s disco hit. Listeners who can survive it will encounter other highlights, such as "Pol," which adds violin and Greek bazouki to the Spanish/Middle Eastern mix for a musical tour of the Mediterranean; "Que Pasa," a Madonna-like pop/dance tune sung perkily in English by Marisol; "Samo Jednom Se Ljubi," a strange track that mixes sound effects such as clinking glasses with a deep, Barry White-style talk vocal by the mysterious Ilan Kabiljo; and the big finale, "Chiquita," which finds the Baila Habibi Posse teaming up to perform a brisk Latin dance song in Persian, Arabic, Spanish, and Armenian. These and other songs manage to blend European and Eastern music modes, multiple languages, and diverse instrumentation -- everything from Indian tabla drums to synth drum'n'bass -- so seamlessly that it sounds natural. Just one little quibble: for those who are intrigued by the multilingual lyrics, an enclosed lyric sheet and glossary of key words in the various languages would have been helpful.
AllMusic Review by Lynne Bronstein