Newsletter

Existential Banjo

ENJOY EVERY EPISODE!

Episode 1
Little Pink America
with Corky Siegel &
Sons of the Never Wrong

Episode 2
People Get Ready
with Sue Demel, vocals

Episode 3
MTA (Poor Ol' Charlie)
with Tony Trischka


Episode 4
Suite for Americas:  Dorian
with Nora Barton, cello

Episode 5
Midnight Rider
with Darol Anger. violin

Episode 6
Vincent Black Lightning
@ Chicago City Winery

Episode 7
Hasna ya Layla
with Aziz Samaoui, ngoni

Episode 8
Opus 821
with Geraldo de Oliveira

Episode 9
Gaudete & Sleepers Awake
with David Jennings, vibes

Episode 10
Corrina, Corrina
with Aziz Samaoui, ngoni 

Episode 11
Dokunmak
with Erkan Ogur
(Concert in Istanbul)

Episode 12
Last Thing On My Mind
with Tom Paxton, songwriter

New Releases

A-sides CD

Fingerstyle guitar with Darol Anger on violin 

 

Two New Hal Leonard books

BOB DYLAN FOR BANJO

 

FIRST 50 SONGS
To Play on the Banjo 
(co-written with Greg Cahill)

 

About Michael J. Miles

 

 A TRUE STORY....

When Pete Seeger first heard Michael Miles, he sent a letter to Michael saying that "in all my 70 years this is among the most beautiful recordings I’ve ever heard...it is enough to make me want to learn the banjo all over again.”
 

Michael Miles is one of America’s most inventive clawhammer banjo players. Add guitar, vocals, jazz instruments, orchestras and complex historically-themed theatrical presentations to the mix and, two decades later, Michael has a critically acclaimed catalog of original compositions, stage performances, music CD’s and music instruction books.

Michael's performance credits include the Kennedy Center, Smithsonian Institution, Ravinia Festival, Harris Theatre in Chicago, American University in Beirut, Johnny Keenan Banjo Festival in Ireland, MIAM Graduate Conservatory of Music in Istanbul,  and the Royal Opera Theatre in Marrakesh.

 

 

 

 

"Highly recommended….an exhilarating, musical and multi-dimensional journey….a provocative political and social history of America." 
     - Hedy Weiss, Chicago Sun-Times

From Senegal to Seeger is Michael J. Miles' acclaimed one-man show featuring musical and written works of Pete Seeger, Carl Sandburg, Woody Guthrie, Walt Whitman, Johann Sebastian Bach, Mark Twain and others.

 

Protest, passion, politics, poetry -- the banjo is the voice of the people, and From Senegal to Seeger unshackles that voice. From Senegal to Seeger is a journey into Americana -- a social and political portrait of America through the eyes of the banjo.

 

In this 90 minute tour-de-force Michael performs on seven banjos, playing music that spans 300 years and charts the transformation of the banjo from an African instrument to the quintessential expression of the American voice.

 

 

Protest songs, fiddle tunes, minstrel sounds -- a dazzling array of banjo playing forms the backbone of From Senegal to Seeger, but it is the poetic words of participants and Michael's masterfully woven narrative that complete this portrait of the American experience.

 

Michael has performed this critically acclaimed one man musical documentary in a wide variety of venues over the past 15 years including the Smithsonian Institution in Washington and the Kennedy Center.

 

“...this is enough to make me want to learn the banjo all over again.”     - Pete Seeger

 

Michael plays ancient banjos from Senegal & modern banjos from America.
 

Oh Susanah & Carl Sandburg's, The People Yes. Carl Sandburg's poetry and portraits of America greatly informed the songs created by Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger.  
 

Union Maid & Pete Seeger's HUAC Testimony. For this testimony, Pete was found guilt of 10 counts of contempt of Congress.  Instead of 5th amendment silence, he chose 1st Amendment free speech. The charges were dropped 5 years later, but he was still blacklisted for a long, long time.  


Michael demonstrates and talks about this remarkable instrument.   It is made of a simple gourd, one long strip of wood, and 5 strings.