Special Offer June 2 & 3 Only: $8

To celebrate all the amazing publicity we’ve received, we have a very special offer for this weekend only! If you pledge $8 towards our Kickstarter Campaign you will not only become part of a wonderful group of fellow supporters of this worthwhile project, but you will also receive the iPad app (or any other digital product of your choice: eBook or digital music album). Hurry! Offer ends on June 3!

Also, people have been asking exactly what our product is, so we’ve made this short and informative presentation to reveal the contents – there’s also a sneak preview of a new song sung by Sherman:

Oh, in case you were wondering what all this great publicity is, we got a mention on’s GeekMom blog, an article in the leading Korean American journal KoreAm, and a lovely mention in the Everyday Shakespeare blog.  We’ve also had tweets from celebrity backer Cory Silverberg and the Folger Shakespeare Library!

The Most Generous Place on Earth

I hear a lot about the generosity of backers, ordinary folks like you and me, who help to fund artistic projects on Kickstarter. There are more than 2 million of us, who have taken part in successfully funding 23,000 of these things, and I have to admit, it’s an addictive pastime: you find a project that wows you, you become literally invested in its progress, you root for its success, more often than not sharing in an exhilarating final few hours as you watch it surge across the finish line, and dreams become reality.

What I don’t often hear about is the generosity of the project creators themselves, but it only makes sense that like would beget like on such a platform. It’s no accident that some of the most storied projects are the ones that are all about ‘giving.’ Jordan Stratford‘s steampunk children’s book is for and about girls, and it encourages an interest in math, science, history, and literature. Cory Silverberg‘s What Makes a Baby aims to include all children in its story of where babies come from, regardless of how many people were involved, what the orientation, gender identity, or other make-up of the family is. And as Amanda Palmer wrote on her blog, even if her Kickstarter project hits one million dollars in pledges by the campaign’s end, it doesn’t mean she’ll suddenly “be loaded” – it means that she’ll be able to create even more valuable products for her backers and for the general public – and “we’ll all win.”

The generosity of these artists manifests itself on a very personal level too. Having myself been inspired to try my hand at a Kickstarter project, I was suddenly hit with the pre-launch jitters with just 24 hours to go. So, in desperation, I cold-called four creators of past projects (completely going against Jane Friedman’s advice), including both of the children’s writers mentioned above. I received a personal response from all four, with encouragement and pointers. They expressed approval of my project and offered to give it a shoutout to their own backers (I did only contact creators with whom I shared a large target demographic). Ross Williams of the Shakespeare Sonnet Project gave details of strategies he used during the entire duration of his successful campaign. Peter Friedrich of Shakespeare Iraq told me that the majority of his backer support came through Oregon Shakespeare Festival subscribers, and put me in touch with one of their producers.

And that is how I learned to crawl out of my shell, stop worrying and love the community. Having been living and working in isolation for so long, I finally found a place where I could forge real relationships with artists who have this is common: they are all trying to create something of value outside of the system, and they are all generous with their dreams and resources. And isn’t this exactly what we want, and expect, of our artists?

So if you haven’t yet, go ahead and find a project to back. Let this be the beginning of a connection with the creative world for everyone, the beginning of a change in the way things are done, with backers and artists being very much one, a part of the same movement. And in time, maybe you’ll launch a small (or ambitious!) project of your own. You all have one inside you. And we’ll be here waiting, in case you need us.

  • Bus Palladium
  • Jess at Le Bus

Le Bus Palladium


Amazing concert at Le Bus Palladium. Lots and lots of people. Friends, colleagues, fans. Jess King blew everyone away with her energy, her dynamism, her connection, and of course her extraordinary voice. We played a couple of new songs, in all-new arrangements.

On the far left (you can only see my shoulder – I’m wearing a white shirt) is me, on keyboards is Vassilis Varvaresos, on drums Aurelien Lefebvre, on bass guitar Thierry Jean-Pierre, and on acoustic guitar Ralph Lavital. Special thanks to my friends Stefano & Cristina Predieri, and Eric & Juliana Uzan for coming. Photo by Charlotte Gerald.

Exclusive Handmade KinderBard Bags

As you may know, Sohyun has her own Etsy store and imported fabric business.  Her bags, “handmade in Paris,” are just beautiful and have begun to garner quite a following.  So when she suggested that we should offer some as a special prize for early backers of our upcoming crowdfunding campaign, I couldn’t say no!

So there are THIRTY canvas bags (made with cotton and linen blend Japanese designer fabric (Echino)) with the logo “I backed KinderBard” up for grabs, and TEN messenger bags (made with Japanese oil cloth (also Echino) which are sturdy, water-resistant, and highly fashionable!

We are also offering one of each for FIVE high rollers…

Watch this space for the campaign launch date!


My Creative Process

They say it all starts with the inspiration, so I’m fortunate to have the best muse one could wish for – William Shakespeare himself.

They say that this is the fun part, getting inspired, and it certainly is for me, because I get to sit in bed, propped up with pillows, and just read.  Rereading Shakespeare takes me back places.  Memorable theatre performances…  I suddenly remember a school field trip to a Kabuki-style The Tempest performed entirely in Japanese, with the coolest Caliban ever.  None of us spoke Japanese, and dare I say it, somehow that made the experience even better – the performance transcended language.  I have countless memories of school productions, cinematic experiences, or just periods of solitary reading.  Happy memories.  They relax me.

But my mind is searching.  As I read, I’m subconsciously looking for pieces of a puzzle, something that will fit.  I’m thinking about how it feels to be four years old, my daughter’s age, what her life is like, what moves her.  I’m looking for a gesture, a sentence, a particular situation in the play I’m reading, when I’ll suddenly have that ‘eureka’ moment and I’ll think, “My daughter would totally get this, if only it weren’t written in iambic pentameter!”

I’m not so presumptuous to I think that my job is making something from nothing.  Because it’s already right there, all in the text, in words that were written four hundred years ago.  When, in A Midsummer Night’s Dream,  Helena says, “Sickness is catching: O, were favour so, / Yours would I catch, fair Hermia, ere I go;” I know that children have wondered whether their best friend is more popular, or more beautiful than they.  When Beatrice and Benedick bicker in Much Ado About Nothing, I remember that I was once a prurient boy who tried to disguise my curiosity by tormenting the objects of my affection.  And even one isolated line like “Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him,” brings back my own fond memories of grandparents and affectionate older friends long gone, and suddenly I’m a child again.

So I’m reading and understanding Shakespeare using everything I’ve learned, all my adult tools, but I’m having to see his words through a child’s eyes, and finally, to express that essence in song, using a child’s words.  Once I’m in that childlike state, the song just comes, taking the form of any one of a multitude of nursery rhymes I’ve absorbed over the years, and this completes my creative process.

They say that “All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”  Actually, Picasso said that.  And in my case, it’s problem solved, because my work takes me back to that childlike state again, and every time,  it feels as if the stars are aligned.

  • Shakespeare and Company
    The Adventures of Little Will: Now Live!

    The Adventures of Little Will: Now Live!

The Adventures of Little Will: Now Live!

There’s an ongoing story I’ve been writing for my daughter, a story of a boy, who lives in Paris, and discovers Shakespeare.

The story establishes a really exciting context for my Shakespeare songs, so if you enjoy reading fiction with an element of fantasy and mystery, or if you have young children who enjoy stories, head on over to Little KinderBard and have a read! As I said, it’s an ongoing project which will be updated very frequently (in fact, every time I write a new song) so I’d love for you to be a part of its genesis and its readership!

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Petit Concert


Just another small performance in preparation for the big one at the end of the month.  Jess debuted some great new songs, and we had the genius Vassilis Varvaresos on keyboards.  At the Flûte Bar near the Arc de Triomphe.  Photo by Ole Marius Dahl.


We all like to think we discovered our greatest loves on our own, whether it’s our spouse, Radiohead, or Shakespeare, but the truth is, there were always external forces at work.

Even this blog post was inspired by a project run by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust called Happy Birthday Shakespeare where bloggers from all around the world are sharing how Shakespeare has influenced their lives. So here I am, thinking about my father, and my early life growing up in England.

So, okay, I admit it was a bit controlling of my father to take me, as a 4-year-old, on a day trip to Oxford University and announce to me that this was where I would be attending college, as an English Literature major no less, but I understand. Living in decrepit housing for immigrant students with families, he just wanted his children to make a better life for themselves. And so began those announcements, the visits to Stratford-upon-Avon, the purchase of a second-hand copy of the Lambs’ Tales from Shakespeare from a flea market…

I remember the summer of 1990 when the whole family went to Korea, my father’s first trip back to his homeland in almost two decades. He was excited about catching up with family and old friends, but my little brother and I were dreading it. We knew we’d be dragged around to meet distant relatives we’d never met, and forced to endure long dinners with our parents’ friends’ children with whom we would have little in common, and never see again.

So to alleviate our anticipated suffering, our parents bought us a copy of The Complete Oxford Shakespeare each, and my little brother and I spent a perfectly contented summer in each other’s company, comfortable on the sofa in some stranger’s house, selecting a play, deciding which roles we’d take, and reading Shakespeare’s works out loud.

Goodness knows what my parents’ family and friends made of us, two boys aged 16 and 11. We must have looked like we were from another planet, not just from another country. We were already the very definition of Shakespeare Geek.

And now? Having long ago graduated from Oxford with a degree in English Literature as per my father’s wishes, I remain a Shakespeare geek. Now I read Shakespeare daily as part of my work, trawling for material with which to write my children’s songs. I feel so fortunate that I am able to combine my learning, my hobby (music), and my vocation (educating) in this project. And Shakespeare is the glue that keeps it all together.

My daughter is 4. The same age as when I was taken to Oxford. She sings my songs. You’ve seen the videos. But she doesn’t know who Shakespeare is. She sings a song as Juliet, but she doesn’t know who Romeo is. I’d like to think that she’ll discover those things on her own. I’d like to think I’m less controlling than my father. But the truth is, we’re probably exactly the same, my father and I.

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Sherman Loves Eric and Olivier

What an experience for Sherman!  Since her recent session at the recording studio, she’s been building recording studios with Lego, she’s been singing continuously, and today she drew this lovely picture.  I mailed it to the guys.

Response to Videos

Well, the emails and responses have been streaming in!  Here are some highlights:

Sherman has the voice of an angel!

You have hit on something here!

As soon as the app is out, let me know, because I want it!