The beguiling African performer is not only a mesmerizing singer but also a dancer and drummer whose shows have a burning intensity and joy. Her original songs address social and political issues in Africa, including the struggles of women, the exploitation of children and the impact of violence on the family. At 7 p.m. Sunday at the Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N. Lincoln. Tickets, $16-$20. Call (773) 728-6000; www.oldtownschool.org. — Mary Houlihan
More shows after the jump ...
In 1969, Sixto Diaz Rodriguez recorded “Cold Fact,” an album filled with intriguing folk-tinged songs about life in inner-city America. Considered by some to be a lost classic, the artist, too, was lost for many years; rumors of his demise were many. In 1996, Rodriguez was rediscovered in Detroit, where he was working a construction job. In the years in between, the album became a cult classic in South Africa, as well as in Australia and New Zealand. Vampire Hands open at 10:30 tonight at Schubas, 3159 N. Southport. Tickets, $20. Call (773) 525-2508; www.schubas.com. —MH
On his new album, “The Birth of Venus,” Lee explores the balance between masculine and feminine nature. It’s a sturdy task, but the singer-songwriter does not abandon his trademark catchy hooks and sense of humor. Also on the bill: Low vs Diamond and Dawes. At 8 p.m. Wednesday at Bottom Lounge, 1375 W. Lake. Tickets, $15. Call (312) 666-6775; www.bottomlounge.com. —MH
A founding member of the Grammy Award-winning acoustic trio Nickel Creek, the singer, songwriter and fiddle player will perform songs from her self-titled solo debut. As a vocalist, Watkins moves easily from the light-hearted country swing of Jimmie Rodgers’ “Any Old Time” to the spiritual awakening of Norman Blake’s “Lord Won’t You Help Me.” Also on the bill: Janet Beveridge Bean, Jim Elkington and Tristen. At 7:30 tonight at Abbey Pub, 3420 W. Grace. Tickets, $17 in advance, $20 at the door. Call (773) 478-4408; www.abbeypub.com. —MH
PLAIN WHITE T’S
Chicago pop-punks may be best known for the single “Hey There Delilah,” but the group will show the range of its talents during a gig dubbed “Three-Part Harmony: A Show in Three Acts” featuring rock and acoustic sets and a medley of fan favorites at Metro, 3730 N. Clark, at 7 tonight. Danger Radio and Single File open, and tickets are $20 via www.ticketmaster.com or (312) 559-1212.
The Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, hosts a “3-Way Big Benefit” for the Logan Square Neighborhood Association, Tamms Year Ten Coalition and Young Authors Chicago starting at 4 p.m. Saturday and featuring: Pillars & Tongues, Alla, Afri Caribe, Roommate, Judson Claiborne, Spires That in the Sunset Rise, Baby Alright a Hideout Dance Party with DJ Itch13. The cover charge is $12; for more information, visit www.hide outchicago.com. —JD