India.Arie will put on what should be one of the best shows of the year Friday at Constitution Hall (202-638-4780), and the openers, Detroit hip-hop trio Slum Village and Floetry, will impress as well.
Saturday at the Barns of Wolf Trap (703-938-2404), it's the Zimbabwean singer Thomas Mapfumo and his group the Blacks Unlimited, performing their transfixing, spiritual dance-pop. New York-based Latin percussion wizard Bobby Sanabria performs with his superb band Ascencion Sunday night at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center (301-405-2786). Also Sunday, at DCAC (202-462-7833), it's a night of experimental music with Spaceships Panic Orbit playing electro-acoustic improvisations while vintage NASA films play behind them, and they're joined on the bill by Et At It and the 36 Orchestra.
The Nashville-based group Lambchop makes the case for more being more, when up to a dozen musicians play deep, subtle indie-rock colored with a little twang, a little Brit-pop, and they perform Monday at the Black Cat (202-667-7960), with openers M. Ward.
On Tuesday at the Birchmere (703-549-7500), onetime Washingtonian folkie and current alt-country godmother Emmylou Harris receives the Patrick J. Leahy Humanitarian Award from the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation for her work with victims of land mines. Besides Harris, performing will be Buddy & Julie Miller, Steve Earle, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Rodney Crowell, John Prine, Guy Clark, Nanci Griffith, Patty Griffin and Jamie O'Hara. Tickets (to benefit the VVAF's postwar assistance programs) start at $250.
At the State Theatre (703-237-0300) on Tuesday, one of the most important experimental rock bands, the Residents, comes through town on its 30th anniversary tour. Yes. No! Yep, the most popular prog-rock band ever, Yes, is out on the road again (with Rick Wakeman) and performs Tuesday at Constitution Hall (202-638-4780).
Wednesday at Blues Alley (202-337-4141), it's the adventurous jazz guitarist Sanjay Mishra (with bassist Scott Ambush and tabla player Broto Roy). Though the punk gals the Donnas will be the big draw Wednesday at the Black Cat (202-667-7960), don't miss the openers, the all-guy band the Campfire Girls.
Thursday former Dead Kennedys frontman Jello Biafra will speak at the National City Christian Church at Thomas Circle (703-276-9768) on the topic of free speech in the current political climate. Sponsored by Positive Force, proceeds will go to several free speech watchdog groups. North Carolina's rocking twang band the Two-Dollar Pistols plays Thursday at IOTA (703-522-8340).
-- Eric Brace