Henry Kapono ©2005JCMarion
Henry Kapono Ka'aihue was born in Kapahulu on the island of Oahu. He had a musical ear from his early years on, starting with singing in a school choir and learning the rudiments of the ukulele. He then learned to play the guitar by ear and became a well rounded musician. His schooling included the prestigious Punahou Academy and then on to the University of Hawaii helped by an athletic scholarship which originally had him dreaming of becoming a professional football player. After his schooling he chose his way for the future and became a full time musician first as a solo performer and then a member of the group Pakalolo. Playing throughout the Pacific Henry made a decision to remain in Viet-Nam and entertain the troops which he did for two years. That time in the embattled country had a profound effect on him for years to come.
By the time he returned home to Hawaii he met up with Cecilio Rodriguez who had come to Hawaii with a band from his home state of California. Together they formed the team of Cecilio & Kapono which Henry had decided to use his middle name professionally (meaning "righteous one" in Hawaiian). The duo remained together for eight years and recorded that number of albums. Throughout the nineteen seventies C & K (as they were often referred to) provided a great influence in the direction of Hawaiian music away from the tourist directed "little grass shack" style. The duo won a number of Na Hoku Hanohano awards of excellence for their albums during the nineteen seventies and for retrospective collections in later years after they had gone their seperate ways. Those eight years as a duo provided them with a place in the evolving history of the music of Hawaii. In 1981 the two decided to call it a day as a musical entity and agreed to go on to further develop each one's musical direction. They knew they would be taking a chance on disolving a productive and popular act, but they both believed in each ones talent and faced their future with confidence.
Henry Kapono continued on as a solo performer with a fairly prolific output. In the early nineteen eighties his albums "Stand In The Light" and "Piece Of Cake" introduced listeners to his style as a solo. An album that featured a children's story in twelve songs called "Dreamerboy" won a Na Hoku Hanohano award for Henry for Best Male Vocal in 1983. Henry's seasonal collection "Merry Christmas To You" followed as did "Tropical Heat" in 1986 that won the Na Hoku for Best Engineering. "The Same World" recorded with various artists and "Kapono" followed and another Na Hoku for the "Song For Someone" as Best Engineering. "Kapono Hits" provided the song "Broken Promise" which won the Na Hoku for Song Of The Year. Recent solo CDs by Henry are "Spirit Dance", "Home In The Islands" and the 2000 CD called "The Evolution Of Poi" recorded in Nashville with a number of featured vocalists and a symphonic orchestra. In 2004 Henry Kapono recorded the CD "Live : Duke's On Sunday" recorded at Duke's Canoe Club, and also was featured on stage at the Waikiki band shell with Jimmy Buffet on the "Live In Hawaii" CD. Henry has also performed for the military in recent years which led directly to the reunion with Cecilio Rodriguez in 2003.
The duo of Cecilio & Kapono has reunited for their thirtieth anniversary CDs called "Lifetime Party" volumes 1 and 2 and the public demanded a live tour which the duo agreed to in 2005. And so the legend continues. Henry Kapono has been a steady influence on the music of Hawaii for thirty five years, and both by himself or with partner Cecilio, provides enough musical memories to last anyone a lifetime of smiles.
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