WALTER "WALE" LINIGER, a native of Switzerland,
fell for the Blues when he heard his first Lightnin' Hopkins record. After he graduated
from the University of Bern (Switzerland) he taught for eight years in the Swiss public
school system before he moved to the United States in 1982.|
From 1984 until 1992 Liniger worked as a Research Associate at the University of Mississippi's Blues Archive, directing the archive's oral history project, "The Original Down Home Blues Show."
In 1984, a Folk Art grant by the Mississippi Arts Commission allowed Liniger to start his apprenticeship with James Son Thomas (1926-1993), one of the Delta's great bluesmen. During the following seven years the duo appeared at most major Blues festivals throughout America and participated extensively in the statewide Arts in Education program. This valuable experience, mentioned in the Gerard Herzhaft's Encyclopedia of the Blues, was sobering and necessary: it allowed Liniger to re-evaluate his rather intellectual notion of the Blues. In addition, Liniger continued his studies under Sonny Boy Nelson (Eugene Powell), Jack Owens, Johnny Woods and Wilburt Lee Reliford, exponents of traditional Mississippi Blues.
In 1993 Liniger became a Distinguished Lecturer with the Institute for Southern Studies, University of South Carolina. In addition to teaching his successful course ECHOES IN BLUES at the South Carolina Honors College, he continues to perform on a regular basis. In recent years he often joins guitarist and National Folk Heritage Award winner Etta Baker (b.1913) on stage.
In 2001 Wale Liniger became the first recipient of a stipend at the International Jazz Archive in Eisenach, Germany. This residency was sponsored by the U.S. Consulate General in Leipzig, Germany. It not only led to a number of performances and workshops at a variety of educational institutions throughout Thuringia and Saxony, but also to an extensive article about the Guenter Boas Collection, the core collection of the archive.
Maybe it is because of his own multi-cultural background that Liniger seeks to highlight the healing endeavors of artistic voices, maybe it is because he believes in the creativity of the human mind when the heart is in trouble. In his performances Wale Liniger not only examines some of the cultural roots and tonal lures of the Blues through musical interpretations on harmonica, guitar and voice, but he also explores the underlying issues of translation and exile.