Header photo credits: Alan Thoburn



Archipelago live painted by Gina Southgate.

Faye MacCalman is an improviser, performer, composer and teacher based in the North East of England working across jazz, pop and free improvisation to name a few, on reeds and occasionally voice. Faye writes for and leads award winning alt-rock-jazz trio ‘Archipelago’, exploring song forms through improvisation and melody.

With improvisation at the core of her practice, her appreciation for songs and sounds also sees her performing with bands including The Unthanks (‘The Songs and Poems of Molly Drake’), Paul Smith (Maximo Park) free improvising duo ‘Kleevex’ with Gwilly Edmondez and in 2017 she toured with Zoe Rahman as part of Brighter Sound’s Jazz Director Series. Faye has led improvisation workshops across the North East as well as teaching at Newcastle University, Leeds College of Music and privately.

As a current recipient of the Help Musicians UK ‘Peter Whittingham Development Award’; Faye is running ‘BETWEEN WAVES’ https://archipelago-jam.com/betweenwaves; a collaborative project for female artists from around the UK to create new music with Archipelago. Taking place in Newcastle upon Tyne this September-October, the project is aimed at addressing the gender imbalance within creative music making environments. In 2017 UK journalist Kevin Le Gendre described Faye as ‘providing food for thought on what jazz is and can become’.

She performs and/or records with:

Archipelago, The Unthanks, John Pope Quintet, Gwilly Edmondez, Charlie Collins, J Frisco, Paul Smith, Ceitidh Mac, Kleevex, The Midnight Doctors, John Pope, Ponyland, Pigsx7

and, previously:

Zoe Rahman, Graeme Wilson, Ig Henneman, Olie Brice, Arun Ghosh, Ellwood Epps, Yves Charuest, Elizabeth Lima, James Mainwaring, Corey Mwamba, Wilbert De Joode, Zoe Gilby