05/01/02
Going Bananas with Shana
    by Kevin Shortsleeve

{If you've not heard of Shana Banana yet, it might not be too long before your toddler tells you about her. Shana is a fresh new recruit in the world of children's music, and the singer-songwriter has been building a fan base that stretches from San Francisco to Washington D.C. A Parent Choice Award Winner, Shana sings about anything from brushing your teeth to space exploration. I asked Shana how she began writing songs for children.

"I was raised by a preschool educator - my mum - and I would work at he preschool sometimes - ahh - and she would put me in, like, the two year old room. And at the time - you know I've always been a singer/songwriter - I always thought it would be a grown up kind of thing but once I pulled out that guitar and started working with those two year olds who would other- wise be running around all over the place and swinging, from the, you know, chandeliers all of a sudden we found a connection and the energy was phenomenal and I got hooked"

"Hal and Hanson were walking down the road
walking down the road
walking down the road.
Hal and Hanson were walking down the road
Two dogs having some fun."

I asked Shana about her musical influences as a child.

"My father was a big band musician. He played saxophone. I love big band music - loved loved loved it - and I loved to show - and I've always been even though I call myself a folksinger - a singer/songwriter - actually the influence is way more showy stuff, you know, I was a huge Sher fan, Barbara Streisand, you know the big diva's kind of thing"

"I wanna be a dinosaur
King of the World in a time before.
I wanna be a dinosaur
I wanna be a big fat dinosaur."

I asked Shana what messages she felt were important to communicate to children.

"That we respect them and we love them and we believe in them and that we're not the ones who are telling them the way it's supposed to be - we're the ones telling them 'Hey, this is what's out there. Take it and run. Go for it."

Shana Banana just released her second full length CD, "Song in My Pocket." I asked her what else the future might hold.

"If it doesn't get to that point I'll be fine doing exactly what we're doing now and that is writing songs, performing them for kids, and um, having a lot - just having a great time."

"oo oo ah ah oo oo ah ah oo oo ah ah oo oo ah ah Lets Go Banana's, underneath the sun
Lets go Bananas we'll have bunches of fun."

Copyright 2002 by Kevin Shortsleeve

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Wednesday, 04-Sep-2002 22:19:40 EDT


"Recess!" is a co-production of the University of Florida's Center for Children's Literature and Culture and WUFT-FM, "Classic 89."