Desert Roses 2

Desert Roses 2

Various Artists

Mondo Melodia / Ark 21

Arabic music has been bubbling just beneath America’s pop conscience for years, and, when Sting teamed up with Cheb Mami on “Desert Rose” (for which this compilation’s named), it looked as though it had arrived. Well, not yet… and maybe not for some time now.

However, that should not stop you from checking out the global groove this second edition of Desert Roses lays before us. As almost a daring claim to international legitimacy, Egypt’s Hakim teams up with Puerto Rico’s Olga Tanon and Delinquent Habit’s Kemo in “Ah Ya Albi.” Amina delivers a fine trance cut, “Lirrili.” Rachid Taha’s “En Retard” is a percussively-heavy hip shaker. Boricua again goes Maghreb as Puerto RicoÃs Sabu and Luzcelle cover Habib and Nasser’s “Yalla Habibi.” The goddess herself, Nawal Al Zoughbi, contributes “Bain Albareh Wa Al Yom.” Khaled and Cheb Mami show why they’re the kings of RaÔ. And London’s Oojami (whose Bellydancing Breakbeats is one of the most intriguing albums of the new year) mix East and West perfectly in their bass-laden groove, “Istanboogie.”

Mondo Melodia: • Ark 21:

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