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Blackboard Broadsides

From Bob Dylan to Sufjan Stevens, every generation puts new twists on the old tradition of folk music. Chicago musician Michael Miles is no exception.

A talented singer and banjo player, Miles is doing his part to keep the art form alive, reaching out to the newest generation of Illinoisans.

After years teaching at Chicago's Old Town School of Folk Music, Miles put together " The Magic Banjo," an innovative, one-man show that lets the strings of a banjo tell stories of life in America.

Miles also takes his passion for music on the road and into the classroom, from college workshops to elementary school songwriting sessions. Photos courtesy of Michael Miles.

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There are many other Illinois artists who have made folk music a part of their daily lives. Visit with Erwin Thompson, the Gordons, Special Consensus, Jim Kanas, Bucky Halker, and Sons of the Never Wrong.

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Watch Michael Miles strike a chord with Chicago public school students as he leads them on a songwriting journey.

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Michael Miles explains how he engages students and helps them compose "If I Were the President," a song they'd sing and send to President Bush.

 

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Miles playing his banjo.

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Miles and his schoolkids take a break from the music.

 

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