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For 38 generations, members of the Merasi Ensemble of Rajasthan have shared their history by playing songs rooted in their arid state in Northwest India. But these ancient storytellers, who were once poorly compensated royal court musicians, have been relegated to “untouchable” status, earning the ire of critics for having used instruments with skins made from dead animals and for using lyrics that anger certain religious fundamentalists. Today the Merasi Ensemble is trying to preserve and perpetuate its culture by founding schools and performing internationally with the aid of folk arts organizations. Read more >>> The Merasi Ensemble of Rajasthan performs at 7 p.m. at the Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital, 921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE. $12–$15. (202) 549-4172. hillcenterdc.org. (Steve Kiviat)
Blue Point Brewing Company’s 2016 Shucktoberfest is this Sunday from 12-4 p.m. A $75 ticket includes bottomless beer and beer cocktails, plus unlimited food from Rappahannock Oyster Company such as oysters and sides like clam chowder and fries. Also expect a live bluegrass band, bocce ball, and giant Jenga. Yes, the NFL game will be on two 90-inch LED screens. Shucktoberfest, Courtyard at Maurice Electric (500 Penn Street NE) at Union Market, shucktoberfestdc.com
OH AND ALSO
Friday: Country artist Amanda Shires celebrates the release of her album My Piece of Land with a performance at Gypsy Sally’s in Georgetown with vocalist Lilly Hiatt. Read more in our Fall Arts Guide. 8:30 p.m. at 3401 K St. NW. $16–$18.
Friday: Help raise money for refugees while seeing music legends at the Lisner Auditorium at George Washington University, where Emmylou Harris, The Milk Carton Kids, and Robert Plant play a benefit concert in support of Jesuit Relief Services. 8 p.m. at 730 21st St. NW. $55–$85.
Saturday: In 1952, a 7-year-old girl from Atlanta, Georgia won Ted Mack’s The Original Amateur Hour, a televised singing contest. Sixty-four years later, Gladys Knight is all grown up and still singing. From 1961’s “Every Beat of My Heart” with the Pips to 2014’s solo gospel album Where My Heart Belongs, Knight’s inimitable voice has graced our turntables, cassette decks, CD players, and iPods. Her lifetime of musical experience, which includes seven Grammy awards and 11 Billboard No. 1 R&B singles, remains present in her recent tours. Read more >>> Gladys Knight performs at 8 p.m. at the Warner Theatre, 513 13th St. NW. $62–$82. (202) 783-4000. warnertheatredc.com. (Noa Rosinplotz)
Saturday: Two masters of the banjo, husband and wife Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn, play an intimate show at Sixth & I Historic Synagogue. 8 p.m. at 600 I St. NW. $50.
Saturday: The Arthur M. Sackler Gallery opens its latest exhibition, The Art of the Qu’ran, a detailed new show featuring pieces from Istanbul’s Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts. 10 a.m. at 1050 Independence Ave. SW. Free.
Sunday: As the Washington Ballet reinvents itself, the Kennedy Center’s steely ensemble of resident ballerinas is quietly putting together a weekend of bright and bold classics. The Suzanne Farrell Ballet returns to the Eisenhower Theater in its tenth year under the direction of the beloved New York City Ballet principal dancer who inspired George Balanchine for years. This weekend, the group sticks to pieces by the master, starting with the colorful and jazzy “Danses Concertantes” set to music by Stravinsky and following with “Gounod Symphony,” a huge ballet that incorporates 30 dancers. Read more >>> The Suzanne Farrell Ballet performs Oct. 21 to 23 at the Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater, 2700 F St. NW. $39–$99. (202) 467-4600. kennedy-center.org. (Caroline Jones)
Sunday: Chef Jeremiah Tower, one of the pioneers of contemporary California cuisine, discusses his latest book, a contemporary guide to etiquette called Table Manners: How to Behave in the Modern World and Why Bother, at Politics & Prose. 3 p.m. at 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free.
Sunday: The National Gallery of Art screens O Cinema, Manoel de Oliveira e Eu, a new film about the Portuguese director presented in conjunction with the Locarno Film Festival. 4 p.m. at 4th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW. Free.
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