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.

 

 

 

 

About Musical Documentaries

Michael J. Miles is a prolific author of his own genre of works for the stage that mix music, history, literature, politics and humor: Musical Documentaries for the Stage.

 

These American Journeys each embrace distinctly American subjects that are illuminated through primary source research, writing and visual presentation. Juxtaposing the richness of the history of the American experience with the coloring of period music and the hilarity of popular culture, these performances are at once entertaining and informative.

 

“Captivating, entertaining...vivid images of America.”  Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

  

With musicianship and musical performance as the centerpiece of these works, Michael places American music in a historic - cultural context that deepens the meaning of our shared musical inheritance.

 

In the American Journeys Michael illuminates the music with his articulate narration of contemporary popular culture; performs readings of contemporary literature and poetry; brings politics of the day to life with the words and voices of important historical actors; sings traditional songs with the sincerity and powerful intent of the authors; and underscores all of this with his virtuoso skills on the banjo and guitar.

 

"International Arts Guide Critics Choice of the Week"   - New York Times

   

These musical documentaries have been staged in theaters, libraries, and art centers across America -- as well as at the Kennedy Center, the Smithsonian Institution and on tour with the United States State Department in Morocco and Lebanon.  

Click on the links below for detailed portraits of Michael Miles' current offerings.   

  

From Senegal to Seeger  

This one-man show is the musical story of the banjo and its extraordinary history, with Michael Miles performing with a broad array of banjos and pre-banjo instruments like the Senegalese Halam that contributed to the modern banjo. From Senegal to Seeger has been staged more than 400 times over the past 15 years.

Tin Pan Alley Times
With virtuoso trumpeter David Young, Michael Miles presents the American music of the 20’s and 30’s -- especially its exquisite multi-cultural jazzy blend of sounds and musical styles. Tin Pan Alley Times features exquisite rear screen projection of photography and art that brings this history to life visually.

American Songbag 
Michael Miles musical portrait of the 20th century -- based on Carl Sandburg’s premise that “songs tell our story” -- is an ambitious and critically acclaimed musical documentary. While American Songbag generally covers 1900-1975, the production has a unique modular format that allows the performance to be customized to emphasize specific periods or historical themes.

Selected scenes:   "From Senegal to Seeger"


Selected Scenes:  "Tin Pan Alley Times."  

 

The story and music of the "Melodious Pich."