Musica Viva Australia’s offer last year for Van Diemen’s Band to tour nationally came at a time when domestic borders were on everyone’s mind. In my home state of Tasmania, the border had been both a blessing and a curse during 2020-21. On the island, we had led a reasonably normal life with no major lockdowns and few incursions of the virus by virtue of our ‘overseas’ geographical advantage; on the other hand, leaving Tasmania was to risk not being able to return for weeks, or even months, if you happened to find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time. Globalisation notwithstanding, COVID-enforced restrictions have given us all a demonstration of what it’s like to be contained to smaller spaces; to be shut out – or shut in.

Van Diemen's Band

When it came to choosing our program for the tour therefore, a natural progression towards a concept followed and we ended up with Borderlands, exploring the music which came from those places ‘in between’: the marginals, the people whose geography...