FEATURE: Archipelago – A Look Back At 2017 | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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2017 had been a rather interesting year. We’ve been lucky enough to fill our pages with some incredible creative talent, so we asked a few of them to share some thoughts on the year just gone. We caught up with Faye MacCalman from inventive trio Archipelago to find out about her year.

So, how was your 2017?
Ludicrous, brilliant and heartbreaking.

What was your best moment?
Getting asked to guest on stage with one of my clarinet heroes Arun Ghosh in York alongside my Archipelago bandmates this year was pretty special. AND I sang in front of an audience for the first time in about a decade with Ceitidh Mac and Will Hammond, that’s two but I can’t help it. 

And your worst moment?
Being forced into an impromptu stage craft lesson which I arrived late to, where everyone was going around the circle telling an embarrassing story in the character of the person next to them, but which I had missed the explanation for so just told a story as myself and it was really awkward. 

Your favourite band of the year?
Not specific to 2017, but one of my best discoveries this year was the amazingly haunting and gutsy blues singing of Mattie May Thomas, who was recorded from the sewing room of a brutal American prison called Parchman Hall in 1939. 

Your favourite song of the year?
Regina by Becca Stevens, which is also the title of her most recent album, reworking tales of Queens in all their different forms throughout history. Her voice is gorgeous and her songwriting is so exciting and imaginative. 

Favourite TV of the year?
Stranger things, Crazy Ex Girlfriend and The Handmaid’s Tale.

Your favourite film? 
A Ghost Story, but I wouldn’t recommend watching it alone at the movies in a foreign city, which of course I did. 

Favourite venue of the year?
The late and great True Coffeehouse in Heaton, closely followed by The Butterfly Cabinet! Also, bit niche but…The Bog in Montreal, Canada. It’s basically a basement beneath a block of flats that is ran as an illegal venue, but one with balloons and foil decorated pillars. Can someone please set that up in Newcastle? 

What was your favourite gig of the year?
The indecision is mounting with every question… Performing wise, any gigs I played with The Unthanks, Archipelago, Ceitidh Mac, Trio FCT and all the brilliant geniuses I played with this past year. 
Attending-wise, seeing pianist Kaja Draksler playing solo at the Jazz North East Dutch all dayer, Anna Meredith at Sage Gateshead and the ICP orchestra at the Gateshead Jazz Festival. 

What gifts were on your letter to Santa last year?
Theoretically, a lot of pedals that make me sound cooler than I can do acoustically, but realistically, socks. 

And finally, what has 2018 got in store for you?
I’m planning a project with Archipelago to collaborate with female musicians through a series of Newcastle based residencies via a UK wide open call, so keep an eye on Archipelago social media pages for updates on that!
Aside from that I’m hopefully going to continue writing and playing, using my voice and words more, creating tiny ripples of music across the tyne and beyond.

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