Lake Norman & Mooresville

Buff'ugee still serves up classics

Lori and Korki Korczykowski had succeeded playing classic rock songs at every venue in Buffalo, N.Y. After a few years of playing almost nightly, though, they found they'd exhausted the opportunities to perform there.

Then their daughter got married and moved with her husband to the Charlotte area for his work. That prompted the Korczykowskis to move to Mooresville and start anew.

The duo makes up Buff'ugee, a classic-rock cover band. They sound like a full band, but only with two members.

Lori plays harmonica and acoustic and electric guitars and sings. Korki plays six- and 12-string acoustic and electric guitars, as well as mandolin. For recordings he also records the bass and drums at home.

Korki and Lori were married in 1976. But it took 15 years before the two began performing together onstage.

When they married, Korki was touring Canada with a band. The band would play six days a week, including twice on Saturdays. Once the band gave a ride to a solo act: a man traveling with his guitar and amplifier.

"I thought about that, and I said, 'That's what I'm going to do,' " said Korki. He soon left the band and started his own solo act. "That's what I did."

From 1980 to 1991, he traveled from stage to stage with a chair, a guitar and a small public address system.

One day when he was home, Lori was playing some CDs, and she was singing along. A light bulb went on for Korki.

"I said, 'You wanna join the band?' " said Korki. He warned her that if she did, she couldn't quit, since they were married. Lori took the edict seriously, and 20 years later the band is still together.

The couple twice won the Buffalo Music Award for Best Duo.

When Dan Larmandra asked them for permission to marry their daughter Arielle, they decided to make the move south, too.

Korki came up the name "Buff'ugee," which combines "Buffalo" and "refugee."

The couple moved to Mooresville in December 2010 and began their rebranding.

One thing that hasn't changed since they moved is their charitable giving.

"We've had it pretty good," said Korki. "It's a chance to give back. We've had two healthy children. We've been healthy. It just seems like that's what we ought to do."

Now Korki and Lori, both 53, sometimes pair with food-and-drink vendors, auctioning themselves off at charity fundraisers. So far they've helped raise money for Dove House, Ace and TJs Grin Kids and Hope at the Point, among others.

They play during each fundraiser, and when someone bids and wins the band/food package, Korki and Lori play the winner's private party.

They estimate they've raised $15,000 to $20,000 so far for local charities.

"We can't donate money," added Korki. "We can do this."