View Full Version : Where does Sascha really come from?

Sep-12-2015, 8:48am
I'm asking the question in this section, because it's also European folk and the tune in question is allegedly of Russian origin, but none of the Russians I asked so far knew it.
I'm talking about a song called "Sascha liebt' nicht große Worte", that's in almost every German children's instrumental method book.
The harmonic minor chord changes definitely give the song a Russian feeling like Dark Eyes.
I remembered the song when I was looking for a real simple melody to create my first chord-melody arrangement on my tenor banjo
OK, it's not "Midnight in Moscow" but it has a similar flair to it.
Is this just a song composed for German children's guitar books or is it known in other parts of the world too?

Sep-12-2015, 10:44am
It's not a song I'm familiar with. I live in the UK but I've heard a good number of songs and tunes from Russia and that part of the world. It has a feel somewhat like a traditional Russian tune, but it might have been written 'in the style of' such tunes perhaps.

Martin Jonas
Sep-12-2015, 3:05pm
Having also grown up in Germany, I do of course know the song from campfire singing as a child. My default reference for songs of this type is the wonderful "Codex Patomomomensis (http://www.komolze.de/codex/inhaltsverzeichnis.htm)". The authors were very careful to add source and lots of background to the songs, and also to correct any mistakes of the print edition in the Errata (http://www.komolze.de/codex/errata.htm)section of the website. Quite a few of these pseudo-Russian folk songs circulating in Germany are correctly identified as such in the book. However, "Sascha" appears without any annotations and the tune is credited simply as "Russian folk tune". So, the authors appear to believe the Russian origin and none of their readers have written in to correct that.

One possibility is that it's played quite differently in Russia. That happens a lot: the tune to the sentimental Russian song "Katyusha" is known in Germany with completely different words as "In dem dunklen Wald von Paganowo", and sung in a very different style.


Paul Kotapish
Sep-13-2015, 11:34pm
I have no idea where it came from, but we play it a lot for dances with beginners in the course of an evening of squares, circles, and longways (contra) sets. Usually played in Dm, with a third part in D major. Start slow and speed up to lighting tempo. Fun and easy way to get folks dancing, and I've seen it played all over the states. Here's a clip of some kids dancing it up in Alaska. (Where they shout "blah, blah, blah," the convention is to count to three in Russian.


Sep-14-2015, 1:59am
Interesting video. So it isn't a German invention. The third part really fits in well. Just got to teach those kids "ras, dva,tri";)

Sep-17-2015, 12:26pm
The tune sounds convincingly Russian (or Ukrainian or thereabouts) to me. One would imagine there is a full set of Russian words to it out there somewhere, but for the purposes of Contradancing in Alaska, they've been reduced to "Sascha! Sascha! Blah! Blah! Blah!" (or"...Raz, dva, tri!" for the more sophisticated).

Sep-17-2015, 1:48pm
I searched the internet for Sasha Russian but the only thing I found are videos like this:
Contrary to the Alaska kids they get the "Raz, dva, tri" part right.;)
In the German version of the song, Sascha is the son of a horse dealer and riding teacher, who hates horses, mistreats them, but thy take revenge and shred his clothes. The third part in major is not known. It's very easy to play the melody in a minor, so it's in almost all children's guitar methods.
But I keep searching for the Russian lyrics. Something like this: Cаша...

Sep-18-2015, 4:35am
It is not a Russian song, I have never heard it in Russia. But it reminds me some Latvian folk songs, not just one in partticular, but the whole style, which was influenced by German songs anyway.

Sep-19-2015, 8:53am
The dance looks like the kind of clapping dance that is very typical in Central and N.E. Europe - much like the Yiddish patsh tants. According to this link http://dancevideos.childgrove.org/contra/contra-modern/305-sasha , however, it is a modern contradance - so it could well be a modern tune as well. The fact that it has Russian words (albeit only four of them) suggests that it might represent somebody's idea of what a Russian tune sounds like.

Sep-26-2015, 2:25pm
The fact that it has Russian words (albeit only four of them) suggests that it might represent somebody's idea of what a Russian tune sounds like.
I did some research and it seems this is true, it's probably a tune written to sound like a Russian tune. I asked in a french forum, but no one knew the melody. In a German forum I learned that the German words were written by Anton B.Kraus. If the melody is of Russian origin, the title "Sasha" is not. Typing in "Sasha" in cyrillic characters you get lots of Sashas but not the one in question.
So probably, the song is of German origin and made its way across the Atlantic to America, where it turned into a dance with a third part added to give the dancers time to change partners.