Uma’s Ultimate Kona Konnection: Henry Kapono


Uma’s Ultimate Kona Konnection is a weekly column covering the music scene of Kailua, Kona. This week she spotlights Henry Kapono, who plays three times this week: Thursday at Don’s Mai Tai Bar, Friday at Lava Lava in Waikoloa 7:30-9:30 p.m. and Saturday at the Mai Tai Festival at the Royal Kona Inn, where his band plays from 2-4 p.m. It’s free at the Poolside Party. You can expect an amazing, vibrant show with super-talented musicians. If you can catch the bartender challenge for the best Mai Tai, that’s super fun too. 

While shopping in Waikoloa last month, I happened to see Henry Kapono at the grocery store. I’d never met him before, but of course, had seen him playing at the Mai Tai Festival and on the TV monitor on the airplane for Hawaiian Air. Still, I had to say hi. He is a very kind, gentle soul; one can sense his love and devotion to music and caring heart for people and for his family. His crew was quick to respond to my request for an interview. I highly recommend catching one of his shows this week!

I had to inquire about Henry’s white guitar. Here’s what he had to say, “My white guitar has become a trademark. Years ago I was approached by Washburn as a sponsor and got to pick a guitar. I saw the white guitar and I felt good energy from it. At the time it was the only white guitar on the islands. A few years later I got a traditional wood finish guitar and people would constantly come up to me and say, “where’s your white guitar?” From then on I stayed with the white one. I personally like the color white and what it represents. All positive!!!”

Any challenges and/or joys of playing music? 

The challenge is to be prepared for every opportunity to inspire and positively move people. The joy is I get to do what I love and impact people’s lives.

When are you here on the Big Island? 

I perform the third Thursday of each month at Royal Kona Resort at the Don’s Mai Tai Bar. Also, that third Friday at Lava Lava Beach Club in Waikoloa. Any other time I can be on the Big Island is a treat.

What got you started playing music?

When I was about 13 or 14, a friend, Godfrey Akaka, was playing his guitar at Camp Erdman at a campfire gathering. I was mesmerized by how amazing it sounded. He taught me a chord and that was it…I was hooked. Many people have inspired my musical style to name a few… James Taylor, Jimi Hendrix, the Beatles, Rolling Stone, the Young Rascals, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Led Zeppelin, Santana & the list is endless…Don Ho, Kui Lee, Gabby, Jimmy Borges…

About how many days in a month do you usually play?

Minimum of eleven public appearances, but I also tour two to three times a year, do special events, conventions, and private parties. Otherwise, I’m practicing, rehearsing, arranging and songwriting. It’s my life and I love it.

Henry Kapono at the Kahilu Theatre 2018

Your biggest dream music-wise is…

To inspire love, peace, and happiness into the hearts and souls of people all over the World.

What inspires your music most? 

Family, friends, people and seeing the positive things that make us all feel good.

Your proudest moment in music was…

When our first album was released and my mom and dad came to our concert at the Waikiki Shell. Now my proudest moment is each day I spend with my wife and children.

Any suggestions for aspiring musicians?

You have to have a burning passion because otherwise, it takes a lot of work. When you have passion for something you love, then it never feels like work.

If you could have a superpower, what would it be?

Changing lives and changing the world for the good of all mankind.

What TV show did you last binge-watch?

Not much on TV to binge on, but I do like good comedy shows, like King of Queen’s for one…

Tell us about your Artist 2 Artist concert series?

It’s simple, entertaining, inspiring and genuine. It’s a one on one relationship between the Artist and the audience with me as the host. People get to know the artist, their stories and the inspiration to their songs. It’s mesmerizing.

Tell us about the Henry Kapono Foundation?

The Henry Kapono Foundation’s mission is to support the community through music and the arts and giving with “Aloha.” My wife, Lezlee and I, started the Foundation as a way of giving back to both the industry and the community. There’s so much potential for dreams to thrive and we want to be a part of that odyssey.

What’s your next project?

I’m working on an album of classic songs – covers that I, and many of us grew up listening to. Songs by artists I love and respect. It includes the artists I listened to that shaped my music and myself as an artist. Songs that warm your heart and pleases your soul. I’m having a blast playing them and working on arrangements. It’ll be simple yet very special.

Catch Henry Kapono This Week On The Big Island!

Thursday & Saturday’s performances occur at the Royal Kona Inn 75-5852 Alii Dr, Royal Kona Resort, Kailua-Kona.

Friday’s performance happens at Lava Lava Beach Club 69-1081 Ku’uali’i Pl, Waikoloa Village.

Artist Links

For more info about Henry Kapono and his music, go to

Follow Henry on Facebook:

More info on the Mai Tai Festival can be found at:

Love Guru Uma performs solo acoustic ukulele this Sunday 8/18 at Foster’s Kitchen in Waikoloa from 6-9 p.m. She also sings in the 4-piece Uma Zuma Band 8/30 at the Korner Pocket in Kealakekua, 8-11p.m and at Laverne’s in Kona, 8/31, from 7-10 p,m. Uma’s also a substitute teacher, Uber driver, Aloha Kula Tour guide and self-published author. She just completed Book 2 in a series of adventure love story and self-help reads entitled Love is Crazy – Lessons in Love: Creating your own Happy Ever After and Love is Crazy Satisfying. More at

Photos: Promo photo courtesy of Honda Hawaii Dealers and Lew Harrington Photography, and concert photos by Steve Roby.


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