“Kapono is one of the great island songwriters of his generation.” --Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Known as "Kapono", the Hawaiian word for righteous, Henry is pure Hawaiian, born and raised in Kapahulu, a small town just outside Waikiki.
He started singing in a children's church choir at age 5. His athletic abilities earned him a baseball scholarship to the renowned Punahou Academy (President Obama’s alma mater) and a football scholarship to the University of Hawai‘i. Injuries prevented a career as a professional football player, but, profoundly, moved him toward his passion for music and allowed him to fully realize his potential as an artist. Though he had no formal musical training, "My Dad taught me how to play the ‘ukulele.” says Henry. “I saw a friend of mine play a guitar one day and fell in love with the sound of it. He taught me a few chords and I've been hooked ever since.”
Touring with a local rock band in the late 60s, he ended up stranded by the promoter in Vietnam. He and the band spent 2 years performing for the troops in Vietnam and Thailand before returning to Hawai‘i. The experience left him with a lasting commitment to peace, a deep appreciation for life, and compassion and aloha (love) for all people—themes that continue to resonate in his music.
When he soared to the forefront of Hawaiian music in the 1970s with the duo
Cecilio & Kapono, they became the first Hawai‘i group to achieve a national recording contract (Columbia Records). Together they recorded 13 albums, giving contemporary and folk rock—and Hawaiian music—a new perspective. Always musically adventurous, Henry launched a solo career in 1981; he
has released 17 albums to date.
He continues to break new ground with his collaborations – The Wild Hawaiian in 2006, joining driving rock and slam poetry with Hawaiian chant, and Rough Riders in 2015, celebrating Hawai’i’s cowboys (paniolo) –that appeal to audiences around the world. He is also the author of the award winning children's book, A Beautiful Hawaiian Day, has appeared in films, and has made many television appearances.
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