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.






“There are no better examples of diplomacy than what Michael Miles has brought to Morocco.”   
 - Samuel Kaplan, US Ambassador to Morocco


“People could feel it from your heart, we could read in your eyes, respect for our music.  Once you respect them, they appreciate themselves more in Morocco.” 
 - Abdelkrim Raddadi, US State Dept.

In 2008, Michael Miles led a concert tour through Morocco accompanied by Tony Dale on drums, and collaborating with Abdelilah el Miry on violin, Haj Younes on oud, the Houriyate women singers,  and a number of other Moroccan musicians.  

Miles describes the most recent Moroccan trip this way, “ For 8 whirlwind days, we travelled the country.  We brought our own blend of original works and American music with banjo, guitar, drums and vocal harmonies.   Once in Morocco we started meeting and performing with Moroccan musicians.  We listened, we played, we spoke through interpreters, and we found a common ground.


"We took our common ground out to the Moroccan public--who saw this example of shared music & values, and a different view of America.


"We had scheduled exchanges and rehearsals with Moroccan musicians who taught us their music and encouraged us to perform it with them.  These were ancient musical traditions, centuries old.   In the world of traditional music, in the world of political upheaval,  this was treasured privilege to be cherished forever."  - Michael Miles 


“For many in the audiences Michael Miles and Tony Dale were the first Americans they had ever experienced.  They are ambassadors through music.” 
 - Elizabeth Millard, US Counsel General 



 1.  9198 miles travelled from Chicago through five Moroccan citiesMarakesh, Meknes, Casablanca, Khourigba, Beni Mellal

2. 11 musical collaborators:  Abdelilah el Miry on violin, hajuj, gimbre; Haj Younes, oud;  Nasser Ouari, oud; Ahmed Naji,  bass Louthar; M’hamed Damou, Louthar; Abdellah Anid, bowed rabab; and the Houariyate Women singers & percussionists.  

3. 2000 people in audiences at 7 different venues including concert halls, schools, an orphanage, a school for the blind, and community centers.


These tours have been sponsored in part by US State Dept, Chicago Sister Cities International, and Pegasus Players Theater.

The videos on this page outline the artistic collaboration, how Miles was taught by Moroccan musicians, and ultimately how the public in Morocco responded to his presence.

"Michael Miles believes in our local culture, respects it, lives it, not for a gig but for a spiritual interaction.  Our deepest gratitude to you."    
  - Abdelkrim Radaddi, US. State Dept

Michael Miles speaks in Marakesh about the impact of music in our communities.  US Ambassador to Morocco, Samuel Kaplan, is in the audience.


Michael Miles collaborates with the Houriyate women singers in Marakesh.

Michael Miles is taught how to play the tune, "Tabila" by Abdelilah el Miry.

Michael Miles performs "Tabila" later the same day as the lesson with a larger ensemble. 

Michael Miles is taught to play "Bint Shalabia" by Abdelilah el Miry and Nasser Houaria.

Michael Miles performs "Bint Shalabia" with Haj Younes on oud, Abdelilah el Miry on violin, and Tony Dale on drums.