The Lesession pages

Abc music notation tutorial, tune collections in abc, rauschpfeifes, and more ...

Abc Notation Tutorial Tune collections Rauschpfeifes Miscellanea About

About LeSession

This website is run by Steve Mansfield of Whaley Bridge in Derbyshire.

The name is derived from its origin as the website of Le Grand Session de Manchester, a monthly French music and dance session my wife and I ran in South Manchester in the final few years of the 20th Century. The sessions ended, but by then the web domain was also hosting my abc tutorial, so LeSession it has stayed ever since - despite being both unpronounceable and grammatically incorrect (the Académie française regard 'session' as a feminine noun, and French musicians call tune and dance sessions 'bouefs' anyway!)

I started playing tin whistle aged 15 having previously been put off music for a few years by the recorder teacher at school. I then fell in with the right sort of people and discovered traditional music, was welcomed with open arms as a musician by the Sheffield University Folk Dance Society in 1980, and have tried to never miss a day's playing music since (even if it's only two minutes silently playing across the top of a tin whistle).

In addition to an array of flutes and whistles I also play rauschpfeife, English concertina, bagpipes, and bouzouki: I could probably be quite a decent one-man band if I only had enough arms and mouths. Bisonoric instruments like anglo concertinas or melodeons, however, render me completely helpless, to the great amusement of friends and bystanders. If anyone reading this has solved the perpetual guilt of the multi-instrumentalist (whereby assiduously practising one instrument is simultaneously neglecting another) I'd love to know the answer to that one.

I've played with, in, or for, Stomping Duck, Sheffield University Morris Men, Action Space Mobile, WhirliJig, Theatre Of Fire, The Shandanistas, Great Escape Theatre, Skipjack And The Tuners, Chorlton Green Women's Morris, Gorton Tank, Shake The Dice, Crashing Bourrees, Abram Morris Men, The Rumworth Morris of Bolton, the Massif Village Orchestra, Olio, Freaks In The Peaks, and Flash In The Pan; and in countless sessions, scratch Morris bands and temporary ensembles along the way.

Currently I'm most often seen out and about with The Powderkegs Border Morris, the concert band Trebuchet (see details of our touring show The Mill Ballads at, the Welsh tympath band Caffl, and in sessions in and around the High Peak of Derbyshire. I'm very partial to English, French and Scandinavian traditional music (the English concertina might have been designed for polskas), Renaissance and baroque music, classic 70s prog rock, and odds & ends of all sorts of other genres. I have also helped pioneer the extremely niche musical genre of bluegrass rauschpfeife, and take very little persuading to attempt to play just about anything on whichever of my instruments is closest at hand.