Existential Banjo


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
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



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


About Michael J. Miles



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 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.






   “You all are the real diplomats, who meet with people from other countries, communicate through your music, and break down barriers. Sorry that events of the day made it harder for you.” 

    - Lawrence C. Mandel, Deputy Chief of MIssion,

      U.S. Embassy, Ankara, Turkey


 The Miles Trio includes David Jennings on vibes and drumset, and Geraldo de Oliveira on percussion along with my banjo/guitar/vocals.  Sponsored by the Old Town School of Folk Music, we set off for Turkey in October for a two-week residency of workshops and concerts at ITU MIAM, Center for Advanced Music Studies in Istanbul.   


We were scheduled to do a few concerts with Erkan Ogur, a true superstar musician from Istanbul who is gifted in the traditional music of the region and contemporary jazz.  


On the 5th day of our time in Istanbul, Turkey experienced the most violent terrorist attack in its modern history with a series of bombs exploding in Ankara where over 100 people died.  We were a safe 250 miles from there, but that changed everything.  


That collaboration did take place as well as a whole lot more.  A story with complete details is on my blog page. Click here for that.  


Below are a few images of this exquisite city and a video of these brilliant Iranian musicians, who are now our friends.    


 This is the Galata Tower, built in 1434.  



This is Erkan Ogur with his double necked guitar.  Notice that one of the necks is fretless.  


Miles Trio:  Michael, David Jennings & Geraldo de Oliveira


In this video Sharhad Sidfar plays his 8 string saz, explains how microtonal maqams work, and allows me to join him in a duet with banjo and saz.   

This is a key signature from Turkish music, notice two flats and two altered flats indicating microtonal adjustments.  


The fretless oud is the forerunner to the guitar. 


My Nechville custom Whyte Ladye 1925 banjo, disassembled in the hotel room so it can fit in my suitcase.