While he prefers to fashion world music hybrids, Mikes is also adept at playing ragas -- meditative, improvised pieces traditionally associated with the sitar that can last up to two hours. But dogma is simply not in the classically trained musician's repertoire. "Take what you want out of it," Mikes shrugs. "This is my philosophy. You can use it as background, or if you really want to get deep into it, the levels are there. Of course, the feedback I get from the people who buy the albums are a wide range of remarks: From 'Gee, it's real relaxing background music,' to 'Wow, man, I did some 'shrooms the other night and got into it real heavy.'"
Considering all of the styles in which Mikes has dabbled, there is one glaring exception, which may be explained by Verma's initial reaction to Mikes's fumbled audition a decade ago. "The blues is one I haven't done yet," he admits. "But I've experimented with it, so probably I'll have a blues piece on the next album." It figures. With Mikes, what goes around comes around.
Stephan Mikes performs from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. at CocoWalk, 3015 Grand Ave, Coconut Grove, every Sunday in November.