As rock star dream fades, "Kindie" takes off

Wed Feb 27, 2008 7:15pm EST
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By Kate Kelland

LONDON (Reuters) - Luke stands on his seat and strums wildly on his copycat rock guitar. Isabel and Jasper pogo and body slam with the best of them in the mosh pit. Potential crowd surfers and stage divers are held back by minders.

The gig is in south London, the star is "Mr Ray," and the audience are mostly between three and four years old.

This is "Kindie" -- a combination of kids' and "indie" or independent music and a genre which is taking hold of British pre-schoolers and bidding to oust the grinding of "The Wheels on the Bus" from the family car CD player.

Mr Ray ( has played with rock gods like Bruce Springsteen and Meat Loaf, but now, he says wistfully after his London gig, "as the rock and roll star dream fades, it is great to be the soundtrack to families' lives."

The 41-year-old musician from New Jersey in the United States is part of an emerging set of alternative or Kindie musicians who want their own children to enjoy real music that engages both them and their parents.

"I'm starting to write more for families than just for kids," said Mr Ray, aka Ray Andersen, a father and Kindie rock star and the man behind such tracks as "Gimme a Hi-5" and "George the Groovy Giraffe."

"There are more and more mums and dads showing up at gigs with their kids."

With song titles like "Kalien the Alien" and "I'd be a Dinosaur," Andersen knows his market, and plays right to it.   Continued...

<p>Crowd members watch U.S. artist 'Mr Ray' play a gig at Battersea Arts Centre in south London February 22, 2008. He plays so-called 'Kindie' music - indy style music for kids - to an audience made up of three to ten year olds - together with parents. REUTERS/Toby Melville</p>