What happens when you get a Master’s degree in Oceanography, have a mom devoted to Early Childhood Education, have a career as a singer/songwriter and a teacher, have two amazing children, and have a passion for helping and motivating kids? You become a national children’s “edu”-tainer, of course! After working and teaching on a marine research vessel through the University of South Florida, Shana Smith decided to take a leap of faith and explore her creative talents in singing and songwriting. Her mother’s preschool in Gainesville is where Shana discovered and developed her incredible joy of writing songs for children. Over the years, she became nationally known as “Shana Banana” and earned a reputation as one of today’s top children’s entertainers, with a voice that delves into blues, jazz, folk, and spiritual music as well.
Performing at major festivals, schools, libraries, and performing arts centers across the United States, Shana Banana has earned many prestigious awards along the way, including: two first-round Grammy nominations, Parents’ Choice, NAPPA, Kids’ First Coalition for Quality Children’s Media, and, in 2004, she won “Best Children’s Song In the Country” by the Just Plain Folks organization. Her music has taken her to the White House, Seattle’s Whirligig, the Florida Folk Festival, Merlefest, Seminole Tribe Indian Reservations, the Bluebird in Nashville, and various jazz, Americana and blues events across the country, as well as to yoga studios, spiritual centers and festivals for her “Chanting to the Open Heart” kirtan circles and yoga for adults and children.
Shana continues to develop a variety of live shows, study guides, and workshops for teachers, parents, and of course, kids. She has stayed close to her love of the environment and her home state of Florida by writing songs and educational programs for both children and adults, featuring mostly original music. She especially loves to use music to celebrate a child’s natural love of Life, Earth and the deep connections we have to each other, and our responsibility to be good stewards, and to teach and foster healthy lifestyles. Her decades-long mindfulness and yoga practices infuse her shows with love and kindness.
WHO: Shana Banana, Music and Fun for Kids (and Families)!
WHAT: A one-woman interactive musical concert with several themes offered, including customizable themes. For the library theme "Tales and Tails," Shana Banana presented an animal-themed show featuring her dog puppets, Hal and Henson, who accompanied her on a story-and song-laden journey of celebration of animals great and small. For the 2022 Oceans library theme, Shana presented "Banana Beach Party," which took Shana, her puppets, and her audience on a journey through the water cycle, where they met all sorts of interesting aquatic and marine species. For the 2023 theme of “All Together Now,” Shana capitalized on her extensive background as a mindfulness and yoga teacher to create the program “Good Vibrations with Shana Banana.” For 2024, we will dive into “Bananadventures: The Adventurous Spirit of Going Bananas,” in which Shana and her puppets make all kinds of incredible discoveries by honoring their adventurous spirits and curiosity! Shana Banana also wrote a BRAND NEW adventure program with Didgeridoo Down Under’s one and only Raihan Alam (“Rai the Guy”) called “Heartbeat of the Earth.”
WHEN: Shana Banana has themed programs for all different times of the year! Consider “Bananaween” for October, “Che-Han-Tah-Mo” Seminole Indian show or “Heartbeat of the Earth” for November, “Merry Chriskwanzanukah” and “Going Bananas for the Holidays” for December, “Bananimagination” and “Fairy Tales Gone Bananas” to celebrate reading any time of the year, and “Banana Beach Party” or “Good Vibrations for a Healthy Planet” or “Heartbeat of the Earth” for Earth Day, and “Good Vibrations with Shana Banana," "Heartbeat of the Eartn," and "Bananadventures” for anytime!
WHY: Shana actually paused her research-based Ph.D. program in Oceanography to follow her great love of writing great songs and stories and creating wholesome, educational, music programs for children. 25 years, 5 CD's, two DVD's, a television segment and two kids of her own later, she has never looked back, and continues to “go bananas” as a true heart's calling.
HOW: Shana travels self-contained, with a sound system, guitar, drum, puppets, a few bunches of bananas, and sometimes one or both of her teenagers in tow. All you need provide is a table and an outlet! She is also set up to offer both pre-recorded and LIVE, interactive, virtual Zoom concerts.
QUALIFICATIONS: 25 years as a traveling, musical, interactive family "edu-tainer." Multiple awards including: Parents' Choice, NAPPA, iParenting, Just Plain Folks Best Children's Song in the Country, two first-round Grammy nominations. Master's degree and Ph.D. candidacy.
Banana Beach Party!
Do you want to book a show? Reach out, and let's go bananas!.
Sign up to hear upcoming shows, albums, and events.