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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.

The Legend of L'Inconnue / Compilation
I would like to thank Tore Laerdal and his Team for one of the greatest experiences of my life and for believing in all of us.
And to my Legend Team, you will always be a part of me..I love and miss you very much.
All Songs written by
Denis Chopin & Lesley Neesham
Mulberry Hawk
Denis Chopin / Lead Vocals/ Guitar
Lesley Neesham / Lead & Backing Vocals
Mario Price / Violin
Richard Hubbard / Keys & Bass 
Gary Durance / Drums & Percussion
Faye Hanson / Eva Lazlo & Annie, Harry's Secretary
David Norfolk / Dr Harry Battley & Asmund Laerdal
Mario Price / Roland Vittes
Denis Chopin / The Storyteller
Lesley Chopin / The Storyteller
Richard Hubbard / The Pathologist
Gary Durance / Louis Argon
Louise Smith / Mrs Vittes, Death, Conscience , The Devil
John Shalders / Gascon
Sofia Neesham / Roland Vittes's Daughter
Behind the scenes
Sharnelle Cable / Hair
Frank Erlenkaemper / Sound
Charles Neesham / Photography, Backdrops, Film
Louise Smith / Make-Up
Phil Prince / Prop Manager
Bradley Ford / Light
Pernille Neesham / Shop
Verna Barber / Warderobe
William Neesham / Runner
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