The Legend of L'Inconnue
by Lesley Neesham (now Price) & Denis Chopin
In 2009 Lesley started a concept album with singer/songwriter Denis Chopin and their band Mulberry Hawk all about a beautiful and mysterious young woman whose body was taken from the river Seine in Paris 130 years ago. The girl was called L'Inconnue de la Seine (The Unknown Woman of the Seine). L'Inconnue's enigmatic smiling death mask became the face of the rescucitation model 'Annie' which is used all over the world to practice mouth to mouth rescucitation.
The story was delivered through the 19 songs written by Denis Chopin and Lesley Neesham and played live by their band Mulberry Hawk featuring Mario Price on violin and illustrated by film and artistic photography. With the star of the show dancer Faye Hanson who beautifully interpreted the music's changing moods from passion to depression, hope to despair.
Faye made the character of L'Inconnue real, believable and fascinating but kept true to her mystery, tragedy and elusiveness. Combined with the dramatic narrative of the wonderfully talented David Norfolk (Starwars, Bodyguard, Midsummer Murders) the effect had been said to be quite stunning.
A beautifully illustrated book was published with 19 song and on writing the book Lesley & Denis decided that it would only be right to dedicate everything, the book, the songs and the show to the memory of Asmund Laerdal who was the creator of Rescue Annie. On contacting Laerdal medical the company asked to see a copy of the book and were impressed with what Denis and Lesley had achieved so far and gave permission to go ahead with publication. On the 3rd July 2012 they performed for the first time at the fisher theatre in Bungay. Around 20 minutes before show begin they were informed that Tore Laerdal, Asmund Laerdals son was in the theatre to see them perform. Tore loved the show and took the show and Team under his wing. Tore Laerdal supplied them with the money and the venues to carry on with the show and take it as far as they did.
Performances in Norway, France, Ireland and the UK were arranged.
Unfortunately and due to circumstances out of their control, Mulberry Hawk disbanded in 2014. What remains is a beautiful album with stunning songs and great memories that will stay with everyone who was involved and the people who were lucky enough to see their performances, forever. Knowing that Mulberry Hawk are still a piece of Laedal history is a great acchievement and a huge honour and Lesley & Mario are both humbled to have been a part of something very special.