My sister Ellen worked for many years rowing a boat named “Music Temple” for a company called Grand Canyon Dories. In 1982 she invited our family to come on a staff trip through the entire canyon from Lee’s Ferry to Lake Mead. It took three weeks. I brought along a cheap guitar, a kalimba, and a small portable cassette recorder. My girlfriend Barb and I hiked in to meet them at Phantom Ranch. I recorded my sister giving my father instructions on routes through the rapids, some kalimba improvisations while drifting, guitar improvisations in camp, and one kalimba improvisation with Kenton Grua pounding a huge stalagmite in a cave. RIP, Kenton.
In 1988 or so I mentioned to my sister that I’d had a pregnancy scare with my girlfriend. She recorded a cassette tape of her colicky daughter whimpering and crying and sent it to me, labeling the cassette “birth control.” I sampled bits of it and made a little composition for her as a gift.