Didgeridoo virtuoso William Barton and Véronique Serret’s duet Heartland, a commission by the Canberra International Music Festival that premiered at its Barbara Blackman Festival Blessingconcert in 2019, has since expanded into an hour-long collaboration which they are performing at this year’s Sydney Festival ( and this year’s CIMF).

William Barton and Veronique Serret perform Heartland William Barton and Veronique Serret perform  Heartland at Sydney Festival. Photo © Jacquie Manning

Blending the sounds of didgeridoos, voice, guitar, violin and electronics, Heartlandsees the two musicians – both of whose genre-defying practices span composition and improvisation – weave their music around poetry by Aunty Delmae Barton, the didgeridoo player’s mother and musical collaborator, that pays tribute to Country and, with the music, evokes a vivid landscape that grips the listener from start to finish.

In addition to their impressive individual careers, Serret and Barton are long-time collaborators and real-life partners, and in 2020 were in residence at the Peggy Glanville-Hicks house in Sydney as part of Barton’s Prelude residency. Their close musical rapport is evident in the way the colours and sounds...