Lori Goldston Performs “Santu’s Song”

DP & Editor: Jueqian Fang
Production Sound Recordist: Zeos Greene

At the invitation of Duane Linklater, cellist Lori Goldston has been performing a musical fragment called “Santu’s Song” in the Frye galleries. The performances have occurred at regular intervals—but at unannounced times during the run of Duane Linklater: mymothersside, creating an opportunity for a serendipitous acoustic encounter within the exhibition. Linklater conceived the performance in connection with his 2011 project Sunrise at Cape Spear, on view in the exhibition. “Santu’s Song” and Sunrise at Cape Spear each present a spare yet poignant elegy to the Beothuk, Newfoundland’s indigenous inhabitants, who were declared extinct in 1829.

Goldston plays from a transcription of a song remembered by Santu Toney, a half-Beothuk woman who learned the song from her father when she was a child. In 1910, just prior to Toney’s death at age 75, anthropologist Frank Speck recorded the song on wax cylinder. However, having long since left Newfoundland and lived among other tribes, Toney could no longer recall its meaning or context. As a translation several steps and many years removed from cultural practice, the musical piece touches on both loss and survival: marking the absence of the Beothuk as a people while attesting to their ancestral continuance, contrary to settler accounts.



Listen to the original recording of “Santu’s Song.”

Read more about Santu Toney and the song’s history.



Classically trained and rigorously de-trained, possessor of a restless, semi-feral spirit, Lori Goldston is a cellist, composer, improvisor, producer, writer, and teacher from Seattle. A relentless inquirer, her work drifts freely across borders that separate genre, discipline, time, and geography. Current and former collaborators and/or bosses include Earth, Nirvana, Mirah, Jessika Kenney, Stuart Dempster, David Byrne, and many more. Her work has been commissioned by and/or performed at the Kennedy Center, Sydney Festival, Cineteca Nacional de México, Tectonics Festival, Bumbershoot, and venues large and small throughout North America, Mexico, Australia, and Europe.