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Thursday, January 13, 2005

Schnappi das kleine Krokodil

I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Gail of Crossing the Rubicon2 for tipping me off to just the thing I needed to get all those Harry Chapin songs out of my head yesterday.  She posted a link to a story about a 4-year-old German girl named Joy Gruttman who wrote and recorded a song called 'Snappy the little crocodile' which was posted to her family's web site.

That right there should have been heartwarming enough to get me to go click over and have a listen.  But it turns out a Cologne radio station discovered the song and started playing it on the air.  This led to people calling in to request the song... several remixes (a dance mix, a beat mix and a pop mix so far), and it is now the #1 song on the German pop charts!

Please, please I have one request:  If it turns out this is something really sinister (like, for instance her parents are drug addicts who sold their little girl to a recording studio in order to pay off their dealer), please don't tell me. My kids were still singing the song when I tucked them into bed last night and I don't want anything to sully that fun.

Click here to listen to her sing the original version, and click here to see the words and to find links to the other versions of the song.  According to a story about the 4-year-old star, 'Schnappi das kleine Krokodil' even edged out the likes of Kylie Minogue and Linkin Park for the top spot on the charts. 

One question I would ask my German readers:  Does she sound as adorable to your ears as she does to mine?  Also, if anyone wants to tell me what (besides a little crocodile, of course) this little angel is singing about, it would make my week.  However, in keeping with my original request, if it turns out she has a real potty mouth in German, I would rather not know what she's saying.... mmkay?

[UPDATE:  Here is a little more information as well as a servicable translation provided by a dear (and patient) friend]

1.  The little girl was 6 when she recorded the song, not 4. 

2.  She didn't write it, her aunt (who is a professional children's song writer) wrote the words and composed the tune.

And now, here is the translation:

I am Schnappi, the little crocodile,
I live in Egypt, right next to the Nile,
first I lived in an egg,
but then shnapped my way free

Schni-schna-schnappi schnappi-schnappi-schnapp

I am Schnappi the little crocodile
have sharp teeth and mighty many of them
I shnap what's there to shnap
I shnap and am good at it


I am Schnappi the little crocodile
I love to shnap, that's my favourite play
I sneak up to mum
and show her how well I shnap


I am Schnappi the little crocodile
I'm never tired of shnapping
I shnap daddy's leg
and then just fall asleep



Posted by David Bogner on January 13, 2005 | Permalink


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» schni-schna-schnappi!!! from kendrak's attack
i'm not sure how many people who read this blog are aware of the international sensation known as schnappi das kleine krokodil. he's from egypt, if you didn't know. the schnappi album was a huge sensation internationally this past year,... [Read More]

Tracked on Nov 24, 2005 4:24:04 AM

» schni-schna-schnappi!!! from kendrak's attack
i'm not sure how many people who read this blog are aware of the international sensation known as schnappi das kleine krokodil. he's from egypt, if you didn't know. the schnappi album was a huge sensation internationally this past year,... [Read More]

Tracked on Nov 24, 2005 4:26:40 AM

» Schnappi from Toydi Learns To Web
A lovely kids song by a 6-year-old German girl, Joy Gruttman. I first heard it in my car on the way back home last week. The song has now become a hot pick by FM DJs in my area. Heres two external links for more info about the song and the kids:... [Read More]

Tracked on Dec 6, 2005 11:54:08 AM


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Very cute. I assume you've tried the Google translation of the page which makes it sound like it's um.. about a little crocodile, you know what I mean?

The refrain is now chisled in my brain. I need some schnapps.

Posted by: Doctor Bean | Jan 13, 2005 9:15:43 AM

Where are my rucksack and lederhausen. Spelling may be off there.

Posted by: Jack | Jan 13, 2005 9:30:50 AM

Doctor Bean... Of course I tried several online translation tools but they are really only good for getting the general idea (and they often give strange or incorrect meanings for idioms). I was hoping that one of the Germans who frequent treppenwitz could give me the more complete translation.

Posted by: David | Jan 13, 2005 9:35:33 AM

Jack... Thanks, that was a visual image I could have done without this morning. :-)

Posted by: David | Jan 13, 2005 9:37:28 AM

Very cute. Maybe it's one of those old Volkswagen commercials?

Posted by: Moshe | Jan 13, 2005 11:01:33 AM

Very cute. Maybe it's one of those old Volkswagen commercials?

Posted by: Moshe | Jan 13, 2005 11:02:20 AM

You're trying to get high google ranks, are you? You're not really wanting to talk about this topic, do you???

I have previously ranted about this [insert any bad word] and declared it the song corresponding to the recent PISA studies results.

Fact is, this song has made it through the internet before it was discovered by the big media. The aunt of this girl [she is actually 9 and recorded the song when she was 6] actually writes childrens songs for one of Germany's best childrens tv show [Sendung mit der Maus], educationalwise. I don't say that this excuses a zillion Germans for making a childrens song not only #1 in the single charts for over a month now but also the hottes cell phone ring tone ever.

You want a translation of that song? Well, it's really naive and simple. Corresponding to the IQ of those who granted it the said #1. As is the melody. This said, I've been wondering whether one must be ashamed again to be holder of a German pasport. After all, as you may well know, this country was once called "Land der Dichter und Denker" [country of poets and philosophers]...

Schni-schna-schnappi, schnappi-schnappi-schnapp!....

Posted by: mademoiselle a. | Jan 13, 2005 1:40:35 PM

Adorable! I'll try to translate it for you, not easy, as "schnappen" is slang-word, means actually to bite but without hurting. I'll have a try on the translation after work. And post it to you asap.

Posted by: Jany | Jan 13, 2005 1:42:28 PM

Moshe... It might be... it might be. :-)

Mademoiselle a. ... I think you know me better than that (cosidering that most of my content is decidedly not current or popular in nature. That having been said, I think there is noting wrong with enjoying an innocent children's song... although one has to wonder at such a song becoming so popular in the pop charts!

Jany... Thank you, it was nice of you to offer, but a dear friend has provided a servicable translation which I will post as an update.

Posted by: David | Jan 13, 2005 2:55:52 PM


I am always happy to help. :D

Posted by: Jack | Jan 13, 2005 7:58:02 PM

Yes, David -- nothing wrong if this song stayed in its appropriate box :) You'd know what I mean when riding a train where every other cell phone rings off with a schni-schna-schnappi... doodle. Let me find a comparison to Israel...how about Little People ringtones? Or Mitz Beten? Or 'Udi chamudi'? On adults' cell phones, mind you.

But talking about the overall quality of local charts here...it's not that #2 was more appealing or sophisticated. So, freedom for iTrip and road DJs, I say!!!

Posted by: mademoiselle a. | Jan 13, 2005 8:37:07 PM

...you adapted the "shnap"?! Holy cow.

Posted by: mademoiselle a. | Jan 13, 2005 8:38:36 PM

I am Schnappi, the little crocodile,
My lyrics are so infantile.
For photo Friday, here I wait,
Even though it’s Thursday, very late.

Schni-schna-schnappi schnappi-schnappi-schnapp
Schni-schna-schnappi schnappi-schnappi-schnapp

I CAN’T GET THE SONG OUT OF MY HEAD! I’m going to go drown myself in the toilet.

Posted by: Doctor Bean | Jan 14, 2005 8:07:15 AM

I CAN’T GET THE SONG OUT OF MY HEAD! I’m going to go drown myself in the toilet.

Hi Doc,

Hang on, someone needs to flush. ;)

I may sing this on an audioblog post, just because I can.

Posted by: Jack | Jan 14, 2005 9:31:48 AM

Jack... Good to know you're all about giving! :-)

Mademoiselle a. ... We all need a little innocent foolishness in our lives... this just fills my foolishness quotient for the next few months.

And no, I would never dream of adapting your perfect translation. ;-)

Doctor Bean... Please not that the concept is call 'Photo ,em>Friday, not Photo Thursday night in California! Hang on... take deep breaths... maybe a paper bag will help. :-)

Jack... That I want to hear!

Posted by: David | Jan 14, 2005 9:59:31 AM

You are welcome, David. I thought the song was adorable - very reminiscent of Shirley Temple. But I can see how having to listen to it all over the place would make you a little crazy, Mademoiselle a. When my 13 year old daughter was little, Barney the Dinosaur was very popular here. The "I love, you, you love me" song from the show became universally hated after a while.

Posted by: Gail | Jan 14, 2005 2:29:10 PM

i have to disagre with the first response she was infact a 5 year old her song became #1 in Germany this year now shes 8. its a nice song i will admit that.(at least for someone her age) to me it just sounds like the American version of "Its a small World after all" i just herd the song during school in my German class. after clas i bolted out of the door scared stiff. this son is funny at first thin it just gets scarry. not in a bad way as some reding this might think but in the sense of siting in a ride in Walt Disny World lisening to Its a small world after all (Im talking in the sense of someone older than 13) it gets real anoying.

Posted by: Aaron | Jan 15, 2005 12:18:51 AM

Schnappi is also popular at my home. Why not? Nobody except the Germans themselves (and maybe Madame de Stael when she was charmed by her domesticated philosopher) ever called Germans "das Land der Dichter und Denker" (poets and philosophers), that's a typical German illusion. I prefer Schnappi to much of the bloated discourse about the immensurable spirit of German-ness.
German folk and children songs are probably the most popular part of our tradition. I hear quite a lot of them translated to Hebrew (Steht im Wald ein kleines Haus... ve titen li yad-yad...). So why should Schnappi be less valuable than Hoppe hoppe Reiter?

Posted by: Lila | Jan 16, 2005 11:22:01 AM

One last late word: I read an interesting book recently about stereotypes others have about Germans, quotations etc in my post to my blog http://rungholt.blogg.de/eintrag.php?id=386. It was amazing that the Land der Dichter und Denker was unknown outside of Germany.

And are all the songs in the Wunderhorn on a higher intellectual level than Schnappi...?

Posted by: Lila | Jan 16, 2005 11:56:03 AM

I searched this song after one of my UNIVERSITY students told me about it here in Birmingham! I don't know how they have gotten hold of it!! But it is addictive! I REALLY can't get this song out of my head!!!!!!!!! Even in my home country, Austria, it's in the top three!! NOOOOOOOO

Posted by: nick | Jan 17, 2005 7:34:48 PM

I can only say, what do you expect from a country that adores and reveres David Hasselhoff and his singing "prowess"... I must admit the tune is catchy and the little girl's voice is very cute and in the end, what makes a song a hit, that its musically complex or that you can sing along to it... I don't even speak German and yet I almost know the song by heart now.

Posted by: Robert | Jan 17, 2005 9:23:19 PM

i love this song its awsome

Posted by: leah | Jan 21, 2005 3:45:08 AM

Ouch-i-ouch, the Kunsthistorikerin shnapped again.

Posted by: mademoiselle a. | Jan 22, 2005 3:06:04 AM

I, recently, got this song from a friend. I always listen to Slipknot. Their lyrics, well you know them. But, recently, Schnappi Das Kleine Krokodil has invaded my playlist. IT'S TO DAMN ADDICTING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!WHEREEVER I GO, IT'S STUCK IN MY HEAD! ARG!

Posted by: shcappi | Jan 22, 2005 11:51:03 PM

That's such an awesome song I first heard it on the radio, and now it's stuck in my head. It's cute

Posted by: me | Jan 27, 2005 2:46:19 AM

Great song. Hope she makes loades of money.

Posted by: uk-tony | Jan 28, 2005 4:19:06 PM

I heard this song after somebody in my college told me about it.I really liked it.The music was melodious and the girls voice really adorable.The song was really quite cute.

Posted by: Abhinav | Jan 29, 2005 10:47:11 AM

Being german and receiving this from my son who studies in Washington D.C. is too funny. I just loved it, and I have been singing the song all day. Just amazing who this little song made to to the USA. I am in California and enjoy hearing the german song.
Thanks, it's great!

Posted by: Helga Proudfoot | Jan 30, 2005 8:02:55 AM

I really want to hear the cute little song because everyone at school is talking about it. I still haven't heard it!! When I clicked on your link to hear the original version it didn't work. I was devastated. Not really, though, but I really want to hear it and I just can't. It's making me sad.

Posted by: Kait | Feb 2, 2005 5:57:51 AM

my god, this song is gr8!!! it may be a bit weird and slighly unconventional, but hey, who dosnt love it!!! =)

Posted by: SpAn_1_2 | Feb 4, 2005 1:20:15 PM

very addicting song.

Posted by: who are we all | Feb 10, 2005 12:28:33 AM

People in Germany come up with these silly songs during the Carnival season (11/11 - Ash Wednesday). I know this b/c I'm from Germany. They will play these kind of songs, all day and all night. Luckily they don't last very long. A few years ago, they had a song about 3 white doves, and the chorus was: Guru, guru, guru.

Posted by: mi_powell | Feb 10, 2005 4:03:53 PM

To "who are we all": I don't think this success in Germany (9th week in Top 10 of Maxi CD sales, 7th week No 1) has to do with the Carnival season, it is just a sweet, simple little song, quite different from the carnival songs (remember "Polonaise Blankenese"??).
The first time I heard the CD in a shop, I thought "Oh, what a silly song,", but in the meantime I can't get it out of my brain, humming it all day long...

Posted by: NOP | Feb 14, 2005 8:08:25 PM

Sorry, post was meant for mi_powell

Posted by: NOP | Feb 14, 2005 8:10:25 PM

Hey great, English lyrics at last. Seems a bit silly. Just wondering if there is any dance routine to it. I have ordered the maxi-cd with the video from Germany this morning.

Posted by: Mike Williams | Feb 18, 2005 7:22:41 PM

Even here in France we know this song. Well actually, just a few of us know it i have to admit! One of my friends was visiting her boyfriend in Germany when she discovered Schnappi, and she brought that song back with her.

And now i keep on listening to it all the time.

Posted by: Alex | Feb 18, 2005 8:23:18 PM

@ nick: Dear, the David Hasselhoff thing is a typical stereotype. He had a couple of hits in Germany, yes, but that was 15 years ago. Now, people laugh about him when he goes to Germany, thinking he's a big star. Just because he constantly points out how huge he is in Germany, it doesn't mean he actually is.

Posted by: Meme | Feb 19, 2005 3:00:25 PM

I found this song by looking at a top 40 chart for Europe. I saw the title and thought it looked interesting, so I went and found a sound file. Holy monkey. This is the cutest, most addicting tune I've heard in a while! I've already shared it with my family and intend to put it on a CD so I can show my friends. Maybe I'll even bring the ring tone to the USA. :)

On another note, I had never heard of Germany as the'Land der Dichter und Denker' before reading this thread, just fyi since someone said they were discussing it on a blog somewhere.

Posted by: Kasey | Feb 28, 2005 2:15:55 AM

Last Tuesday I am driving to the airport at 5:30 in the MORNING. And my old college radio station is playing SCHNAPPI. I am thinking "what the heck is THIS?" Was it a child? An older person imitating a child? Was it a joke?

But I couldn't stop listening.

In fact they must have had it on a loop because it kept going on and on... well past the two minutes or so. I listened until I lost the station's signal.

Thank God for the internet... by googling SCHNAPPI, I was able to find it.

Now-- I can't get rid of it! :)


Posted by: Christopher | Mar 1, 2005 10:58:59 PM

I visited Latvia last month and it was on the music channel there all the time!! I loved it and when I got back I HAD to find it and I did and now ive got all my friends addicted to it!! Great song! should be number 1 in England!!


Posted by: Becca | Mar 5, 2005 4:38:52 PM

Hi there,
funny that you guys like this song. It is very interesting, because this song first appeared on the internet in summer (june i think) 2004. and it's still in the charts and it's extreme annoying and addicting at the same time. great ohrwurm :D

Posted by: Vogel | Mar 10, 2005 11:50:37 PM

I first heard this song in school. The people taking German had watched an episode of Schnappi in class, and before we knew it, the Schnappi song was taking over the morning announcements. I was singing the song ALL DAY, and any passerby in the hall was either singing it or humming it. How did such a simple, stupid song become such a huge huge hit, and make it across oceans, traveling around the world!?!?

Posted by: Random | Mar 11, 2005 4:29:33 AM

The first English Schnappi site is born:


Good or bad news?

Posted by: Gino | Mar 17, 2005 4:09:28 PM

this is so cool mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmk

Posted by: blab | Mar 26, 2005 12:55:48 PM

schnappi iz so kool people!!

Posted by: g unit homie | Mar 31, 2005 7:31:17 AM

OMG schnappi iz da cutest man!!! love da song da first tyme i herd it...it waz stuck in ma head da whole dae PERfect!! (espeshally 2 get ashlee simpson out of ur head no offence!)
love ..::ReaPeR::..

Posted by: graffiti_gurl | Apr 1, 2005 8:45:15 AM

I first saw the video clip randomly on a music channel and I couldn't get the tune out of my head! Its annoyingly cute!
This could be the world's best one-hit-wonder. I only wish I could pronounce the german properly so I can sing words other than Schni-schna-schnappi schnappi-schnappi-schnapp!!!

Posted by: addicted from new zealand | Apr 2, 2005 11:04:03 AM

here you are original video

Posted by: Slugy | Apr 2, 2005 6:02:29 PM

Yeah i love dat song! We started to sing it in our german class at school before most of the people in my country even heard of it. Now the whole school is obsessed with it and by the way the little cartoon crocodile in the video clip is DA CUTEST

Posted by: bubbles_ | Apr 2, 2005 11:38:27 PM

Schnappi is now #2 in Norway... It might reach #1 next week, because the current number 1 has been at the top for a long time, and Schnappi is the only competitor for "the throne". The song has also been among the top 5 sellers in Denmark. It's kinda weird that a track in german can become so popular in a country where most people don't speak german, but it has happened before (Blümchen - Heut' ist mein' tag, and other songs in different laguages i.e. that romanian song last summer). Guess this proves that people really don't care about the lyrics, and that music is universal.

Posted by: arctica | Apr 7, 2005 8:19:47 PM

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