James Finamore’s new piece, Leven Shire, was featured as part of the University of Hawaiʻi Contemporary Music Ensemble’s (CME) Spring 2021 Concert. Due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, the concert was filmed in Orvis Auditorium and screened as a YouTube Live event opened to viewers all over the world. The piece was performed by faculty professors Christopher Yohmei Blasdel (shakuhachi), Joseph Stepec (violin), and I-Bei Lin (violoncello) and conducted by James Finamore.
Leven Shire is based on a short story by Jolinda Mendoza that centers around a small, quaint village whose beliefs are based on Norse mythology. The protagonist, Laura De Boer, spends the duration of the story chasing after her twin brother Ambroos, who trespasses into the forbidden forest with his best friend Bartell, ignoring the warnings of the village elders. After trampling through the flowers in the red poppy fields and setting a patch of mushrooms ablaze, the guardian of the forest is called upon by the mushroom folk to deliver retribution. The story ends in a cyclical way, with an aged Laura delivering a cautionary tale to the children of Leven Shire.