Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

The Wiyos

In 2002 Michael Farkas walked into a bar in the old Five-Points district of lower Manhattan. Sitting in the corner was Parrish Ellis with a guitar. Michael pulled out a harmonica and 24 hours later at the old CGGB’s (RIP), a band was born. They soon enlisted Joseph “Joebass” Dejarnette on dog house bass and later Teddy Weber on everything else. They took their name from an old Irish street gang that roamed the Five Points (The Why’os, circa 1890).

In the beginning, The Wiyos built an audience the old fashioned way, by touring from town to town. If they couldn’t get a gig they played on the street, often rallying large crowds and even the law. On their first outing the band drove south in a dilapidated school bus. After numerous breakdowns and two fires, one of which nearly ended the inaugural tour for the entire band, they finally arrived in New Orleans where they cut their teeth busking on the streets.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.