American Banjo Museum - 2014 Hall of Fame Wall
A Brief Biography
2081-1 Matecumbe Key Road
Punta Gorda FL 33955
Banjoist Mike Currao, was born in Brooklyn, NY. At the age of seven, Mike began taking lessons on the tenor banjo from his father, Charles Currao. His father was an extraordinary musician who played with such notables as Paul Whitman, Bing Crosby and Jimmy Durante. Following in his dad's musical footsteps, Mike has been performing and teaching tenor banjo, guitar, mandolin and ukulele for over forty years.
As a teenager, Mike continued to study banjo and guitar. He realized much success as a guitarist, backing up several 50's performers such as Paul Anka, Neil Sedaka, Lou Monte and also the Royal Teens, who later went on to become the Four Seasons. During that time Mike was very active musically, performing with groups ranging from duets to philharmonic orchestras. His experience includes playing banjo, guitar and mandolin for "Porgy and Bess", "Rhapsody in Blue", and "West Side Story" with the Northeast Philharmonic. He also performed in a variety of Broadway ensembles, including performances with Cab Calloway. He also played banjo for many years with the All American Orchestra and the Banjo-Aires in New York, and the Bobby Baird Dixieland Band in Pennsylvania.
In 2007 Mike was nominated for induction into the Banjo Hall of Fame as a performer and again in 2014 as an educator. He was subsequently inducted in September of 2014. Mike produced two very successful CD's "Dedications" and "Diversified", both of which are sold out.
Recently Mike was asked by the five-string banjo community to provide tenor banjo lessons to all banjoists world-wide. Specifically, he was asked by Eric Schlange, the president of the Banjo Hangout to provide monthly lessons to 88,000 members of the organization. He did so successfully for approximately six months, providing online and video lessons on all aspects of playing tenor banjo.
Mike served on the board of directors for the Young Musicians Education Foundation for six years. The YMEF is a nationwide non-profit organization that provides funds for needy youths to obtain lessons and instruments.
He and his wife Marge, reside in SW Florida, where Mike remains very active on the banjo. He gives private and group lessons and also performs with Dixieland groups throughout the area, including the role of lead banjoist for the Gulf Coast Banjo Society in Venice, Florida.