Appalachian Roots is a duo show by Ira Bernstein with virtuoso old-time musician and singer Riley Baugus of Walkertown, NC. Performances are a dynamic mix of traditional dance, song, and instrumental music from the southern Appalachian region of the US, with a few international twists thrown in. Concerts include: percussive flatfooting and buckdancing, rhythm tap dancing, French-Canadian step dancing, English clogging, South African boot dancing, hambone, fiddle tunes, and fiddle sticks by Ira; southern Appalachian songs and ballads, old-time banjo and fiddle tunes, and mountain preaching by Riley; and a good dose of fiddle and banjo, and double fiddle duets by the duo. Appalachian Roots is an old-time music and dance variety show chock full of humor and skill.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  

Ira Bernstein

Born and raised in the suburbs of New York City, Ira Bernstein began dancing traditional Appalachian clogging and flatfooting, and playing the fiddle as a college student in 1978 in Philadelphia, PA, where there was a vibrant old-time music and dance community. His education in these old-time traditions was at weekly community-style square dances and numerous weekend and holiday social gatherings that were centered on the music and dance. His earliest group experiences were as a member of the Mill Creek Cloggers, and the Marlboro Morris and Sword team. He later went on to perform with the highly influential, professional companies the Fiddle Puppets, and the American Tap Dance Orchestra. IRA was also the lead soloist in Rhythms of the Celts, which ran for six weeks at the prestigious Waterfront Theatre in Belfast, as well as a guest soloist with Rhythm in Shoes, and the Vanaver Caravan.
Ira has performed in concerts and at festivals all across the U.S. and Canada, as well as in 16 other countries around Europe and Asia. He has shared the stage with many of the world's greatest tap and step dancers, including Gregory Hines, Savion Glover, Honi Coles, Jimmy Slyde, and Chuck Green, and has appeared numerous times on television and in theatrical productions. He was also one of the artistic creators and featured soloists in Mountain Legacy, and is the director of the Ten Toe Percussion Ensemble. IRA has also repeatedly won first place in the Mount Airy Fiddler's Convention old-time flatfooting competition. He lives in Asheville in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina.
  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Riley Baugus

Riley Baugus is a North Carolina native who began singing and playing music at an early age. Raised in a household where recordings of old-time music were often played, he developed a love and appreciation for traditional, southern Appalachian music. He and his family attended the Regular Baptist church, where unaccompanied singing was the tradition. He began playing the fiddle at age 10, but soon after switched to playing the guitar. By the time he was 12, he and his father built a banjo from scrap wood and he once again began to learn another instrument. Riley began honing his musical skills with close friend and neighbor, fiddler Kirk Sutphin, by visiting elder traditional musicians in and around Grayson County in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina and Virginia. He often visited, played with, and learned from fiddlers Tommy Jarrell (a National Heritage Award recipient) and Robert Sykes, and banjo player Dix Freeman. During these visits, he also met and learned from many other traditional musicians of the area, including former Camp Creek Boys, Verlin Clifton and Paul Sutphin.

Riley has played with numerous old-time stringbands, including The Red Hots, Backstep, and the Old Hollow Stringband, and currently plays with the Dirk Powell Band, and Polecat Creek. He has also taught banjo, guitar, and fiddle at music camps throughout the U.S., and has toured in Europe with The Farmer's Daughters, Dirk Powell and Tim O'Brien, The Konnarock Critters, and Ira Bernstein. Riley makes his home near Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where he builds old-time, open-back banjos, and is part of a thriving musical community. His singing is featured on the soundtrack to the recent Academy Award winning film Cold Mountain.