Fri. The Yoshida Brothers play the three-string Tsugaru-shamisen, bringing a modern sensibility to a centuries-old style of Japanese music. Catch them in an early afternoon performance at the Pennsylvania Avenue Tower Records (202-331-2400). . . . It's a big night at Cubik (at Nation, 202-554-1500) as the promotion celebrates the 11th anniversary of Buzzlife, which has brought some of the world's top club music to the area through the years. Mauro Picotto, Scott Henry, Dieselboy, John Tab and DJ Lantern are providing the sounds to make your body move.

Sat. Ozomatli blends together salsa, funk, jazz and rap for a lively mixture that keeps an audience grooving. The group is at the Birchmere (703-549-7500). Ozomatli is also at the Recher Theatre (410-337-7178) on Monday. . . . Apoplectic funnyman Lewis Black is at American University's Bender Arena (202-397-7328) with his savage analysis of all that's wrong with the world, and believe me, his list is a long (and hilarious) one. . . . The seminal psychedelia of Love With Arthur Lee is at the State Theatre (703-237-0300). The group is also at the Rams Head Tavern (410-268-4545) in Annapolis on Sunday.

Sun. It's an all-star country lineup when Brooks & Dunn, Montgomery Gentry and Gretchen Wilson roll into the Nissan Pavilion (703-573-7328). . . . For an evening of quality folk-pop, check out Ellis Paul, Vance Gilbert and Jill Sobule at the Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts (410-263-5544). . . . Jordan Knight is hanging tough with a solo career, and if you can't get enough of him on the VH1 series "The Surreal Life," he's at the Funk Box (410-625-2000) in Baltimore.

Mon. Straight outta . . . St. Paul??? Yep, hip-hop's Heiruspecs hail from Minnesota's Twin Cities area. The band does everything live -- any "scratches" you hear are by human beatbox Muad'Dib. The result is a catchy sound, one you should hear at Iota (703-522-8340).

Tues. Kirk Franklin, Yolanda Adams and Donnie McClurkin bring "Hopeville," a Broadway-type musical production, to DAR Constitution Hall (202-397-7328). The St. Louis American newspaper has described it as "an uplifting experience for those who enjoy foot-stomping, hand-clapping, soul-shaking gospel music with an urban contemporary groove." (Also, Baltimore's 1st Mariner Arena hosts "Hopeville" on Sunday, 410-547-7328.)

Thurs. Kool G Rap has influenced a host of rappers throughout his career. He's still working the microphone with his distinctive style. Hear him at Sonar (410-327-8333) in Baltimore.

-- Curt Fields