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Like father, like daughter

Michelle Springer

Like father, like daughter

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He knew it from the year she designed an Easter bonnet with chattel houses and a typical village setting. Shana was only seven years old at the time but co-founder of the comedy group MADD and the Bacchanal Time Calypso Tent Kevin KB Kleen Hinds saw that passion for creativity in his daughter that indicated she would forge her own path in the island’s creative sector.While she, like her dad, attended the “Waterford University” (Combermere School), where she got involved in the school’s vibrant theatre arts programme, it was a combination of factors that drove Shana in the direction of stage management, dance, songwriting, artiste management and singing.Cutting her eye teeth in the wings of the George Street Auditorium, the homestead of the tent, was helpful for her.Liked to watch“He never directly influenced me to be a part of it. I used to like to watch the performances, but he always said to me that I had to learn about the stage from the front as well as the back. And when I went backstage, he would explain why he did certain things on stage. “When I was growing up, I never used to understand why he would be telling me these things. All I was thinking about was that I was missing the show. A few years later I understood why. He came to me and said he wanted me to work along with the stage managers. I jumped at the idea,” Shana told the SUNDAY SUN last week.While KB Kleen initially had reservations about his daughter’s getting involved in the industry her passion swayed him.“I have been reluctantly instrumental. The entertainment industry, is a rough, cut-throat industry. When she was still a teenager at school she said to me ‘Daddy, I want to be an entertainer – can’t you see that?’ “I saw her interest from a very early age but when I saw her passion for entertainment and making a career out of it, I said to her ‘let’s hear what you can do and see what you can write’.”But being in the audience for almost all her life was in itself a teacher for Shana, her dad said, as it exposed her to how the sound system should sound and how the show should flow.“As soon as she expressed an interest, I brought her backstage with me to see how it works behind the scenes. I used to explain to her why I did or said what I did as the emcee of the show,” he said. But even before her expression of interest in the field, he saw she had the drive.“The moment it came to me was when she was seven years old. She designed an Easter bonnet with a chattel house and a little standpipe and I got someone to help her make it. Shana’s bonnet was different from the other little girls’, who had flowers and plenty chiffon. They were laughing at her but she was confident and modelled it proudly,” he remembered.Piqued interestThe theatre arts programme at Combermere piqued her interest even more and knowing she had little inclination to traditional academic subjects, she answered the call of her first love and enrolled in the associate degree programme in theatre arts at Barbados Community College in 2008. Shana has also developed her craft in the area of artiste management and development and started managing another youngster in the tent, 14-year-old Tionne Typhoon Alleyne.For Shana, it was a little karma that brought that opportunity about.  “I have very strong views on music and artistes and was seriously thinking about getting into artiste management when I got a call from Tionne’s mum asking if I would do it. I thought at first she was calling for my father, but it was me that she wanted,” she laughed.“I go to her rehearsals and make sure the dancers are in check and make sure she is singing the song correctly. Luckily, I have a background in all those things like vocal training and it all came together. “Sometimes you don’t know why you do something but it all pays off in the end.”Shana has also been working hard on building her own creative portfolio, writing songs and performing background vocals for the reggae band High Grade on Sundays at the Reggae Lounge.KB also addressed the importance of families in the growth and continuity of the Crop-Over Festival.“Bacchanal Time is a true family tent. Not only with the MADD family [mostly former schoolmates] . . . we also have little Typhoon, Eric Lewis’ daughters – Sharece, who is an assistant stage manager, and Tiara – so it is a family affair,” he said, agreeing that Crop-Over was a key time for black businesses and specifically black family businesses in Barbados to flourish.“There are so few black businesses and black family businesses in Barbados and least of all in entertainment, but it is an area that can grow and develop,” he said, indicating there were more examples of children of entertainers emerging in the field to continue the trade with added skills sets. He cited the Stoute and Leacock families as instrumental in this field.“In black entertainment businesses it is important to pass on that baton to the next generation who can sustain what we’ve already done and who can take it to the next level, should they want to get involved,” he said. Proper parenting was also an important process, he stressed, that would have prepared Shana to interact in the adult world of business.“She was always with me at business dinners and meetings and learnt from very early how to carry herself properly in the presence of adults,” he said. He is not concerned about her performing on the nightclub circuit.“I know she will keep her head on. At this stage in her life Shana is paying her dues in the industry, an important stage for any young person getting involved in the industry.  “What people see for the most part is the end result, but it’s the hard work behind the scenes that really counts,” he added.