Critic's Choice for the week of April 6-12, 2005 

Our writers tell you what's hot this week.


No one has more fun making music with her closest and most talented friends than pianist, fiddler, and singer Barbara Higbie. Saturday night, she invites fellow musicians onto the Freight & Salvage stage to run the gamut of her musical loves, from bluegrass and folk to jazz, Indian, classical, Celtic, and various combinations thereof. Joining her is longtime duet partner Teresa Trull on vocals and guitar, classical-improv piano virtuoso Katrina Krimsky, jazz-Indian fusion saxophonist George Brooks, and a rhythm section of bassist Jeff Neighbor and drummer Celso Alberti. $18.50-$19.50, 8 p.m. 510-548-1761. (Larry Kelp)


Mutabaruka was one of the first dub poets, delivering his powerful words of liberation, suffering, and brotherhood over the dub tracks of roots reggae artists. Recordings like Word, Soun' 'Ave Power and Gathering of the Spirits were acknowledged for their compelling music and Muta's impassioned delivery. Muta will be appearing solo Tuesday night at Berkeley's Ashkenaz, giving fans a rare opportunity to see the poet at the top of his form, delivering messages from his latest book First Poems/Next Poems. $15, 8:30 p.m. 510-525-5054 or (j. poet)


Cuba and Its Music: From the First Drums to the Mambo (Chicago Review Press) is a new book exploring the Caribbean island's delightful sounds. Author Ned Sublette discusses his book on Tuesday night at SF's Dance Mission Theater, exploring the African and European blend that makes Cuban music tick. A noted expert and New Music composer, Sublette cofounded QBADISC, the NYC Cubaphile record label, in addition to producing the public radio program Afropop Worldwide. $10, 8:30 p.m. 415-282-9043. (Jesse "Chuy" Varela)


The great Kirov Orchestra under Valery Gergiev may be playing Russian favorites in Zellerbach for Cal Performances on Saturday night (Saturday, $36-$72, 8 p.m., 510-642-9988), but the rare collaboration of our own Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and Chanticleer men's vocal ensemble is cause for equal celebration, with performances Saturday and Sunday at Berkeley's First Congregational Church (8 p.m.), and Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at the Lafayette-Orinda Presbyterian Church. $28-$62, 415-392-4400. (Jason Victor Serinus)


With a name like the Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash, you'd expect this San Diego gang to have an in-yer-face redneck attitude, but their moody country and Southwestern sound is more like a midnight walk through a dusty ghost town. Lead singer Mark Stuart's vocals walk the line between devastation and desire, delivering downhearted ditties that deal primarily with lost love and hopelessness. Sunday at SF's Cafe du Nord. $10, 8 p.m. 415-861-5016 or (j.p.)


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