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The Walleye
The Walleye
page 18
At 16, local fiddler Olivia
Korkola is gaining inter-
national attention: Ashley
McIsaac offered to play
on her debut CD, world
class fiddler Pierre
Schryer took her under
his wing and Russian clas-
sical teacher Olga Med-
vedeva helped honed her
sense of musical respon-
Olivia Korkola is a very in-
spired and sure-footed youth.
When I asked her what had
brought her to the idea of
making a CD at the seemingly
young age of sixteen, she re-
plied that in fact, the album-
making process started at
fifteen, when she was looking
for the next step in her journey
as a musician. She had been
trained by the best she had ac-
cess to, had competed, work-
shopped, studied, performed,
and was ready for what was
logically next. She looked for-
ward to the new experience,
and with Pierre Schryer as
producer at Rob Nickerson's
studio, she learned about
the work of arranging studio
times, acquiring rights to play
other musicians' work, and es-
pecially, picking the best `sets'
of traditional Cape Breton
music (it comes in sets of usu-
ally three tunes that meld one
to the next). This last was
time consuming: she needed
to properly honour the music
of the east coast community
she had befriended, "else I'd
hear about it."
Something along the way
has always told this young
woman to say yes to her inner
gift. When I inquired how
she came to have a violin
in her hand at age four, she
said she asked for it. Three
years of classical training,
then the Kam Valley fiddlers,
and she was up and running.
Good fortune brought world
class fiddler Pierre Shryer to
Thunder Bay, and he took
her on as a pupil; Thunder
Bay Symphony's youth or-
chestra provided a profes-
sional atmosphere and the
city's music festivals gave her
plenty of showcases and op-
portunities to hone her craft.
Olga Medvedeva, her classical
teacher, gave her the sense of
responsibility to take seriously
any skill, in a typically Russian
­schooled fashion. Trips to
Cape Breton began in 2006,
where music and dancing is a
way of life.
Her talents have met a lot of
inspiration along the way, in-
cluding meeting groundbreak-
ing Canadian Ashley McIsaac,
whose 1995 hit album "Hi
How are You Today?" blended
and broke genres with songs
like Sleepy Maggie. He heard
her in Cape Breton, and
later in Vermont, and picked
her out as a particularly deft
player. Words like "awesome"
and "really nice" four or five
years ago led to an unsolic-
ited offer to play on her album
when he heard about it. For
celtic music lovers, Olivia's CD
is joyful, (`tho I'm a sucker
for the sweet, almost mourn-
ful waltzes and aires, and the
old-time Texas swing), and a
perfectly stellar start to what
promises to be a long career.
Ashley McIsaac might have
seen something in Olivia that
he recognized in himself. She
relishes many experiences, like
going to high school with her
uncle Bob's 1980's Vitals band
t-shirt on, knowing that her
peers just didn't get it, and
making it all the more fun.
What she'll bring to the world
with her music is sure to fol-
low in the same tradition.

Olivia recently released her
first CD, Playing in Traffic.
Oh, Olivia!
By Nancy Ewachow
A Juno performer with vaudeville
family roots, local roots musician
Billy Manzik sings about southern
crop pickers, plays the reverbera-
tor guitar and has a growing fan
base in the U.S. and the U.K.
Twenty'ish years ago, I remember sitting with Billy
Manzik and friends at his parents' house, listening
to him rock out the electric guitar standards of the
day, jamming out Zeppelin, Guns N Roses, and Van
Halen. So how does a Thunder Bay kid with a red
department store electric guitar evolve into a critically
acclaimed Roots musician? Manzik had always had
music in his life thanks to a musical mom. However,
it was a serendipitous meeting with an unlikely men-
tor at a L.A. music store that motivated Manzik to
play professionally.
Roots music is a genre that Manzik's music is
placed into by others, rather than as a conscious
choice to write for a particular style. His music is
honest storytelling that reflects his experiences and
ideas with no pretension or motive.
Manzik's first album is one that immediately at-
tracted the attention of the music industry with
invitations to perform at the Juno Awards ceremo-
ny as well as airplay on many radio stations across
Canada. "You Didn't Know Me" from his first album
was developed into an artistically animated video on
Manzik's second album "All Together Now"
showcases his musical talent with elaborate
instrumentation and sounds. This success al-
lowed him to work on the album with Chris
Wardman who has worked with The Tragically
Hip and Randy Bachman. All Together Now
has a lot of great nuances that Billy often ex-
plains in his live shows. The cover of the album
actually comes from a photo that has always
hung in his parents' home reflecting the vaude-
ville history of the family. Manzik also often ex-
plains that, the song "Hannah" sounds like a love
song but is actually reference to southern crop
pickers who referred to the sun as Hannah.
One of Billy's unique sounds comes from his
use of the reverberator guitar. The reverberator com-
bines sounds of the banjo with acoustic guitar with a
metallic pitch that is unique to Manzik. Billy's pas-
sion is infectious when he pulls out his reverberator
and his foot begins stomping out the beat.
Billy Manzik:
By Bill Gross
: Shannon Lepere