It was one of the first independent groups able to impose their own name upon the venues that hired them. Its longest lasting members were the saxophonist Mogès Habté, bass-player Mèlakè Gèbrè, drummer Tèmarè Harègou and trumpeter Yohannes Tèkola. Girma Bèyènè was also an active member of Wallias. In 1981 The Walias Band was the first modern Ethiopian group to tour the community of Ethiopian exiles in the USA. Deciding not to return to Mengistu’s dreadful ‘paradise’, Girma Bèyènè, Mogès Habté, Mèlakè Gèbrè and Haylu Mergia chose to remain in exile on the East Coast of the USA.
There Mogès released a CD accompanied by a booklet rich in biographical and historical information. In it he credits his major influences: King Curtis, Junior Walker and Maceo Parker. For a further ten years Yohannes Tèkola et Tèmarè Harègou continued to play, making the Wallias Band, together with the Roha Band and Ethio Star, one of the best modern groups during the sombre ‘Derg’ period. Read more on Last.fm.
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