l Edinburgh-based Americana promoters Lonesome Highway have announced a further two concerts for the early months of the new year.

Dolly Varden, the Chicago band built around singing-songwriting husband and wife Steve Dawson and Diane Christiansen, play the Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh, on February 6. Then, on March 24, the popular singer-songwriter Beth Nielsen Chapman, who is best known for writing This Kiss, as covered by Faith Hill, and Sand & Water, which Sir Elton John turned into a tribute to Princess Diana, will play the capital's Queen's Hall.


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l A substantial loan of objects from the Swedish History Museum in Stockholm is the basis for a new exhibition, Vikings!, at the National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, from January 18. Weapons, jewellery and household items show all facets of a people who were really more a mode of behaviour. The museum, with contributions from television historian Neil Oliver, is encouraging people to look on Viking as a verb, denoting the pillaging raids people from the Norse lands became famous and feared for, rather than as a description of any race. Oliver will be amplifying this point in a lecture at the museum in February. The show runs to May 12.


l The Orchestra of Scottish Opera, which regularly gives concerts out of the pit at Glasgow's St Andrew's in the Square, is venturing to Paisley on January 19. As part of Paisley Abbey's 850th anniversary celebrations, the orchestra is appearing with a programme of works from the Romantic repertoire of the 19th and 20th centuries. Mendelssohn's Overture: The Hebrides (Fingal's Cave) is followed by Respighi's Trittico Botticelliano and the D Minor Symphony of Cesar Franck. Scottish Opera's music director Francesco Corti conducts.