Franciscus Henri

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Franciscus Henri
Franciscus Henri cover photo 2 .jpg
Background information
Birth name Franciscus Henricus Antheunis
Also known as Professor Henri, Mister Whiskers
Born (1947-08-07) 7 August 1947 (age 67)
The Hague, The Netherlands
Origin Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Genres Folk, children's, gospel
Occupations Musician, songwriter, children's entertainer, teacher
Instruments Vocals, guitar
Years active 1969–present
Labels Fable
Website franciscushenri.com

Franciscus Henricus Antheunis, professionally known as Franciscus Henri (born 7 August 1947, The Hague, The Netherlands), is an internationally known musician and children's entertainer. He has dual Dutch and Australian nationality. In 1970 he gained national prominence when he competed in the TV talent quest New Faces, which led to a recording contract with the Melbourne-based independent label Fable Records. From 1997, he also performs as Mister Whiskers, a travelling singer who loves children and performs for them with his dog companion, Smiggy.

Biography[edit]

Franciscus Henricus Antheunis Jr. was born on 7 August 1947 in The Hague, The Netherlands. In 1956, his father, Franciscus Henricus Antheunis Sr., (born 25 October 1914) and his mother Pietertje (née Van Der Pol, born 21 September 1919) migrated to Australia on board the Dutch ship Johan van Oldenbarnevelt with his older brother Roelof A (born 8 November 1943), Franciscus Henri and his younger sister Maria T (born 28 June 1950).[1] Henri finished his education in Australia and became a qualified secondary arts and craft teacher. In October 1969, Henri performed at the 1st Annual Festival of Gospel Music with Faye Meadows, David Meadows, Leonie Hawthorn and 3-in-1 Gospel Jazz Trio.[2]

In 1970 he gained national prominence when he competed as a folk musician on a TV talent quest, New Faces, which led to a recording contract with the Melbourne-based independent label Fable Records – label boss, Ron Tudor, was a judge on New Faces.[3] In September 1970 Henri's debut single, "Mary and Me" was issued by Fable and he recorded further singles and an LP, Ding Dong Who Rang the Bell (1972).[3] His second album, Gabriel's Mother's Highway (1972) is described as "a refreshing folk album ... a slightly religious but innocent era".[4]

In 1972 Henri toured with English poet Sydney Carter, and in 1973 he left teaching to join the Monash University Theatre company as a set designer, actor and musician. He participated in the Alexander Theatre productions of Puckoon, Under Milkwood (both 1974), Laertes (1970s) and Giant John (1975).[5] In 1976 he toured throughout Australia and New Zealand supporting the English comedian Spike Milligan.[6] Henri formed a production company in that year, and began producing performances throughout Australia in conjunction with state arts councils.

From 1979 to October 1980, Henri was a member of the original cast of Shirl's Neighbourhood, a children's television show, presenting his own segments as himself and, as an early alter-ego, Professor Henri.

By 1982, Henri was married.[5]

Henri also wrote and presented a series of programs and adds for the Victorian Christian Television Association. He also appeared on the Q7 program filmed in London, England.

In 1997 he started performing to children as his new character, MISTER WHISKERS,[7] and released his first album under his new moniker, Hello MISTER WHISKERS, which was nominated for the Best Children's Album Aria Award.[8]

He has performed across the globe, including festivals such as: the Vancouver International Children's Festival[9] and Port Fairy Folk Festival (seven times);[10] and (as MISTER WHISKERS) is the only performer to have played at every Warrnambool Fun 4 Kids Festival since its inception 1998. He has also performed in Singapore a number of times with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra.

From 1989 to 2002 he was a recording artist for ABC Music (ABC for kids), as well as a creator and producer of cover designs, for his own and other releases.

He is the writer of the popular song 'Ducks Like Rain' a cover version recorded by Canadian entertainer Raffi

His most recent work is Nothing Fixed or Final, the words and music of Sydney Carter, as performed by Henri.[11] He has presented it throughout Victoria and recently in Boston US. In London UK. he performed in the Sydney Carter memorial concert(Oct 2007)

He has so far received seven ARIA award nominations for his various recording work.[8]

Franciscus is also an exhibiting painter.

Discography[edit]

Releases on CD[edit]

Year Album name Distributor Other notes
1989 Tree House ABC Music (ABC for Kids)
1990 White Pyjamas ABC Music (ABC for Kids) Nominated for Aria: Best Children's Album[8]
1991 Dancing in the Kitchen ABC Music (ABC for Kids) Nominated for Aria: Best Children's Album[8]
1992 Walking on the Milkyway ABC Music (ABC for Kids) Nominated for Aria: Best Children's Album[8]
1993 Merry Christmas ABC Music (ABC for Kids)
1993 Franciscus Henri - My Favourite Nursery Rhymes ABC Music (ABC for Kids) Nominated for Aria: Best Children's Album[8]
1994 Stories and Songs ABC Music (ABC for Kids) (Spoken Word) album
1994 Hans Christian Andersen ABC Music (ABC for Kids) Nominated for Aria: Best Children's Album[8]
1997 Hello Mister Whiskers ABC Music (ABC for Kids) Nominated for Aria: Best Children's Album[8]
1998 Hooray for Mister Whiskers ABC Music (ABC for Kids) Nominated for Aria: Best Children's Album[8]
1998 Mister Whiskers: My Favourite Nursery Rhymes ABC Music (ABC for Kids) A re-release of Franciscus Henri - My Favourite Nursery Rhymes
1999 Mister Whiskers: Monkey Business ABC Music (ABC for Kids) Nominated for Aria: Best Children's Album[8]
1999 Board of Studies "Street Sense" - Road Safety Songs n/a
2002 The Best of Franciscus Henri ABC Music (ABC for Kids)
2003 Explorer Semester One Music Makers
2004 Maestro Semester One Music Makers
2004 Explorer Semester Two Music Makers
2004 Maestro Semester Two Music Makers
2005 Nothing Fixed or Final Franciscus Henri Productions

Videos/DVDs[edit]

  • OH NO ! It's The Franciscus Henri Video
  • I'm Hans Christian Andersen
  • Hello MISTER WHISKERS!
  • My Favourite Nursery Rhymes
  • Sing a Song in Singapore

References[edit]

  1. ^ "A2478, Anthenius F H". National Archives of Australia. 1956. Retrieved 15 May 2012. "Anthenius Franciscus Henricus born 25 October 1914; Pietertje (nee Van Der Pol) born 21 September 1919; Roelof A born 8 November 1943; Franciscus born 7 August 1947; Maria T born 28 June 1950 - Dutch - travelled per ship Johan van Oldenbarnevelt departing in 1956 under Reformed Churches Sponsorship Scheme" 
  2. ^ "325856: 1st Annual Festival of Gospel Music". National Film and Sound Archive. 1971. Retrieved 15 May 2012. 
  3. ^ a b Kimball, Duncan (2002). "Record Labels – Fable Records". Milesago: Australasian Music and Popular Culture 1964–1975. Ice Productions. Retrieved 20 April 2010. 
  4. ^ "Series 2". Wrokdown. Musicians Independent Collective. Anita Monk. Retrieved 15 May 2012. 
  5. ^ a b "Franciscus Henri". Monash Records and Archives Image Database. Monash University. 2003. Retrieved 15 May 2012. 
  6. ^ Rosenthal, Stan (1 March 1976). "Spike's Show". Lot's Wife xvi (1) (Monash Student Association (Clayton) Incorporated). p. 16. Retrieved 15 May 2012. 
  7. ^ Herald Sun, May 19th, 1997
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "ARIA Awards: History: Best Children's Album". Australian Recording Industry Association. 
  9. ^ Raffi, (1998). The Life of a Children's Troubadour: An Autobiography, Homeland Press
  10. ^ http://www.portfairyfolkfestival.com/index.php?section=9&pid=200
    http://www.portfairyfolkfestival.com/index.php?section=9&pid=201
    http://www.portfairyfolkfestival.com/index.php?section=9&pid=201
    http://www.portfairyfolkfestival.com/index.php?section=9&pid=202
  11. ^ Stainer & Bell: Sydney Carter

External links[edit]