Henry Kapono has clearly become the most prolific and profound island entertainer of his era – and there’s no stopping him.

He is reclaiming his “Home in the Islands” brand, with a star-studded four-hour concert from 6 to 10 p.m. Sept. 25 at the Tom Moffatt Waikiki Shell in Kapiolani Park.

Featuring Henry Kapono & Friends, his show monicker widely promoted during the pandemic for appearances in nightclubs like Blue Note Hawaii and in virtual TV programming, continues to thrive. After all, there’s no more Cecilio & Kapono in his life, a period that produced iconic songs in his repertoire. But plenty of friends.

The show will be the first large-sized concert  in a year, in the newly-named outdoor venue named for the late and great Tom Moffatt, an entrepreneur who also branded his concerts (Tom Moffatt Presents) during his six-decade reign of rock and pop music on radio and in concert venues like the Shell, the Honolulu Stadium, and the Blaisdell Concert Hall and Arena.

Henry Kapono

Kapono, the Grammy-nominated Hawaiiian musician and entrepreneur, is assembling an all-star roster of fellow entertainers who have hungered to properly return to live performing venue: Kalapana, Keola Beamer, Jerry Santos, Amy Hanaiali‘i, Kapena, Ledward Kaapana, The Makaha Sons, Brother Noland and Robi Kahakalau. Inevitably, the list will grow larger in the weeks leading up to the event.

“We’re excited about bringing the community together in healing and fellowship as we celebrate the music soundtrack of growing up in Hawai‘i and how lucky we are to live in our Home in the Islands,” said Henry in a statement. “There’s no better Hawai‘i venue than the outdoor setting of the Waikīkī Shell and no better backdrop than Diamond Head. This concert is to bring us all together to celebrate the challenges we’ve overcome and have a once-in-a-lifetime experience through the joy of music and friendship.”

Tickets went on sale today, with three price levels: $65 for reserved seating, $35 for unreserved lawn seating, and a $150 VIP package that includes reserved seats and early entry via an exclusive VIP entry gate and access to special restrooms and a no-host bar.

For reservations, go to www.ticketmaster.com or visit the Blaisdell box office from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays or call 768-5252.

The show will be a Tier 5 Outdoor Event, with a 50 per cent venue capacity (social distancing spacing). Details for optional or mandated mask-wearing have not been announced.

The concert is a partial benefit for the Henry Kapono Foundation and $1 for every ticket sale will go to a fund supporting musicians, stagehands, audio engineers, lighting technicians, and backstage crews that were unemployed during the COVID-19 lockdown.

If you’re of a certain age, you’ll remember Henry’s annual end-of-summer, beginning-of-fall biggie with then-partner Cecilio Rodriguez (aka Cecilio and Kapono) … at the Waikiki Shell…

Misuse of music?

“The White Lotus,” the filmed-in-Hawaii mini-series on HBO/HBO Max (new episodes air Sundays) was wholly filmed at the Four Seasons resort on Maui.

It also is loaded with Hawaiian tunes, to heighten impact and enhance scenes, in this sudsy soap-opera in our midst.

But episode two, launched Sunday, hit a sour note on two counts:

  • “Ke Kali Nei Au,” the customary Hawaiian wedding tune, was heard over family dinner.
  • “Hawaii Aloha” closed the episode, as a son in the dinner table gathering, walked toward the beach because he couldn’t sleep in the room; the bonus, he got to see likely photoshopped images of whales. The song inspired by a Christian hymn entitled “I Left It All With Jesus,” composed  in the 1840’s by a Pennsylvania singer and composer James McGranahan, with Hawaiian lyrics composed by the Rev. Lorenzo Lyons at the request of King Kamehameha. It’s commonly sung at the end of a concert or gathering, with singers bonded by holding each other’s hands.

Both placements of familiar melodies in this “Lotus” episode provided awkward feelings. Clearly, the show lacked a Hawaiian music consultant; otherwise, these strange misuse of our island tunes might have been prevented. …

And that’s “Show Biz” …


Since his earlier-announced six shows in July sold out in a day, Bruno Mars has added four more performances at the Park MGM in Las Vegas.

Tickets are on sale, and likely will be snapped up pronto, for new play dates July 30 and 31 and Aug. 13 and 14.

In-between these four shows, Mars will trek to the MGM National Harbor in National Harbor, Maryland, for shows Aug. 6 and 7.

Bruno Mars

With coronavirus protocols lowering and vaccinations increasing across many states, it wouldn’t be surprising if still more concerts are added. Mars, like other mainstream performers, have been idle and awaiting the return of “normal” in the entertainment spectrum.

During the pandemic, Mars has not released a new solo recording but his collaboration with Anderson .Paak in the group Silk Sonic produced a No. 1 hit, “Leave the Door Open,” keeping his name and voice on radio and online postings.

Ticketmaster.com and other websites are selling tickets. …

‘NCIS’ director talks filming

Larry Teng

Larry Teng, who is directing the first episode of CBS’ “NCIS: Hawai‘i,” is beginning to talk about the franchise’s first spin-off away from the continental U.S.A.

Teng, no stranger to the islands since he previously directed multiple episodes of the now-retired “Hawaii Five-0” reboot, is inclined to ensure Hawaii and its residents are properly represented in the new venture, now filming in Honolulu.

“It’s a love letter to Hawaii, too, you know, and I gotta make sure we protect that,” he was quoted at Express.com.

“It’s one of the things we stress about every day,” he added.

Bottom line: he knows he carries the burden to get right. Not just shaping the newbie NCIS so it has a decent life span in prime time, but he pleases not offends the local folks. …

And that’s “Show Biz.” …



It’s Willie K Month on Maui, and surely, the rest of the state will participate.

Debbie Kahaiali‘i, widow of the beloved musician-entertainer Willie K, and the singer’s Ohana Kahaiali‘I and Maui Tribe Productions, will celebrate the month of June as “Willie K Month.”

From June 1 to 30, daily tributes, recollections and perhaps some music will be heard and seen at Willie K’s Facebook page.

Willie K

Willie died last May 18 at age 59, following a bout with lung cancer. He was one of Hawaii’s most versatile entertainers, capable of delivering anything from Hawaiian to rock, from opera to blues, from country to standards from the stage. He played the ukulele but switched to guitar, depending on the genre of his music.

“Willie K Month” proclamation is signed at Maui Mayor Michael Victorino’s office.

Because of his popularity and usually avoidance of sharing his musical stylings to a Waikiki audience, he ultimately became the face and leading figure as a resident act at Blue Note Hawaii, the club at the Outrigger Waikiki resort, and established himself as the showroom’s most popular attraction. He regularly traveled to Honolulu from his Maui base, and ultimately sharing the news of his failing health until he became too ill to continue.

Mayor Michael Victorino made the Willie K Month proclamation to kick off the festivities. And the Ohana shared the moment of the signing at the mayor’s county office.

For details, visit  Facebook: @OfficialWillieK and the website at WillieK.com …

‘I and You’ at TAG

“I and You,” a play by Lauren Gunderson, will be staged July 8 to 11 and July 15 to 18 at TAG(The Actors’ Group), at the Brad Powell Theatre on the premises of Dole Cannery in Iwilei.

Directed by Bro. Gary Morris, the show features a cast of two: Natalie Maria Figuracion Borsky  as Caroline and Manuel Diaz as Anthony. Described as an ode to youth, life, love and human connection.

Anthony arrives to homebound classmate Caroline’s door, with a beat-up copy of Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass,” and they engage in the mysteries of the homework poetry by unlocking the nature of their lives.

For tickets, visit tagtickets@hawaii.rr.com

And that’s “Show Biz.” …


What are your favorite TV theme songs?

I have three, for different and specific reasons:

1 – “Hawaii Five-0” – It has no lyrics, yet this instrumental seethes with suggestion of the tropics, perky and outdoorsy energy and genuine aloha.

2—“Cheers” – “Where everybody knows your name” is the mantra, immediately welcoming, inviting, and, yes, cheerful.

3 – “Davy Crockett” – Okay, a vintage one; not the best melody but a true “ballad” that is rich in storytelling, summarizing the legendary figure, and becoming – in its time – a No. 1 fad hit everyone could sing, complete with accessory coonskin cap.

So where do you stand, regarding TV theme tunes?


Henry Kapono’s “A Tribute to Jimmy Borges,” staged last night (May 27) at Blue Note Hawaii at the Outrigger Waikiki resort, had a tentative start but a celebratory finish.

The concert capped a weeks-long series of Kapono-led presentations, enabling island musicians a venue for gainful employment and exposure, and audiences to get a notch closer to a restored life of club-hopping normalcy.

Henry Kapono, top; Jimmy Borges poster, foreground.

In brief, it was a triumph, though Kapono initially seemed uncomfortable crossing from his pop-contemporary world into the jazz hemisphere of the late and great Borges. He dipped his metaphoric toes into the waters, by asking John Koliva, leader of the Honolulu Jazz Quartet who has had a couple of decades of gigs supporting Borges, the obvious question, “What is jazz?”

Kolivas, whose life has always been all about the bass (fiddle), wisely responded, “Jazz is a conversation…and improvisation.”

And therein was the model for the evening.

Kapono shared conversations about Borges – “when he sang it, he owned it…a true artist,”   he said of the honoree.

Then despite a repertoire largely new to him, Kapono worked the improvisation mode frequently. Since jazz, by rule, enables individual musicians to indulge in brief and relevant interludes of solo instrumentation during a vocal, each song choice embraced the conversational and the improvisational elements. The HJQ, comprised of bassist Kolivas, saxophonist Tim Tsukiyama, keyboardist Dan Del Negro and drummer Noel Okimoto, was the logical “house band” for the tribute. The accompaniment was superb, helping define the jazz spirit befitting Borges.

With a few exceptions, Kapono’s song choices to salute Borges were familiar melodies that most would recognize, refashioned for variety. On “Night and Day,” there was a bossa nova tempo; on “Can’t Take That Away From Me,” a sorta honky tonk veneer; on a two-tune medley of “Sunny” and “Fever,” a generous finger-snapping blues motif; on “When Sunny Gets Blue,” a Kapono-on-guitar-only elocution inspired by a YouTube clip featuring Borges, projecting both sadness and gladness.

When Kapono introduced “Fly Me to the Moon,” he said of Borges: “He owns this one like he wrote it.” It  was composed by Bart Howard and recorded and popularized by the likes of Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett, legendary icons admired by Borges throughout his life. Lest it be forgotten, Borges was given permission to utilize Sinatra arrangements for concerts here and Bennett has dubbed JB as one of the greatest singers ever.

A poster photo of a smiling Borges, draped with a maile lei, was a constant reminder of his cheer and grace, though its presence was not mentioned. But his impact lingered.

There were anecdotal recollections of Borges’ links to New York/Broadway and Kui Lee — generating tunes such as “On Broadway” and “Ain’t No Big Thing,” an anthem to the Great White Way and a Lee composition, respectively — that were marginal at best.  And while Kapono included a couple of titles from his Cecilio and Kapono catalogue, this was not a C&K retrospection whatsoever. His fans won’t let him leave a stage without a signature or two or three.

As the show neared completion, the nostalgia factor increased, with Kapono offering “Goodtimes Together” to punctuate the happy memories shared, a guitar-backed “Over the Rainbow” and the wholly proper “My Way,” a favored show biz anthem. One puzzlement: if this was a tribute, wouldn’t it have been kosher to have one of Borges’ certified partners in song to sit in and share first-hand memories?