A brief biography of Sacha A. Chan Yan

Kiel, 29.10.2010 If you've got lots of time to waste click HERE for the more extensive 10 page autobiography.

Sacha in his racing car Born in London, England on the 24th of December 1972, Sacha Alexander Chan Yan is the son of a Greek father from the island of Corfu and a Chinese mother from Kimberley, the city of diamonds in South Africa.

Being the result of and extramariatal affair, he was brought up by his mother Sheila but was also morally and financially supported throughout his life by his mother's sister Pauline who lives in Canada and visits every year.

The first four and a half years of his life were spent in Camden Town and Reading, and just short of a year in Canada somewhere in between.

When he was four years old, he and his mother went on holiday to the Greek island of Rhodos. She decided for them to move to Athens, where he spent the next 25 years.

Prophetic photo of Sacha age two on his "custom" chopper with a toy guitar in the foreground Because of being one of the very few at the time orientals in Greece, and partly from being without much parental or other protection, his life has been very intense, with a range of difficulties on the home front and social fronts. Being unusual himself, he seems to be a magnet for unusual and extreme, happy as well as unhappy experiences with all sorts of people. His mother went back to England when he was 15 and he has since been living alone.

His musical education consists of piano and violin lessons for three years, between the age of nine to 13, but had to run away from home to persuade his mother to stop the lessons he found so unbearable. He had a problem with just playing other people's music exclusively, practicing scales, and with the fact that students were not encouraged to create anything themselves. At 13 he got hooked on the guitar after asking a friend to show him how to play The Beatles' "Yellow Submarine" and taught himself to play.

Sacha with balloons at Grandparents Golden Wedding Anniversary in Kimberly, South AfricaHe went to four kindergartens in three languages, a french school and did a lot of starting and stopping and changing between another five english schools, for a total of six almost full years of schooling. After flunking 10th grade he'd had enough and left school at the age of 15. He is still allergic to school. Nevertheless he speaks fluent English, Greek, French, and now German, as he's now been living in the town of Kiel, in northern Germany for the past six years.

His main intentions as a person revolve around improving, to try to recall what love is and cultivate it, for other beings, himself, the universe, and beyond. After listening to a doctor friend's advice, he decided that having animals suffer for his survival or pleasure was inconsistent with the person he wanted to be, so he stopped eating meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and drinking alcohol when he was 21.

He got his first job at 13 and began working steadily by the age of 14, as a waiter, a souvenir salesman, a newsagent employee, a Faux Bijoux maker, an employee of the local Roland musical equipment distributor, where he met his friends from the thrash band Despise, a motorcycle mail courier, a window shutter installer assistant, an insurance salesman (the worst one in the world). After a lengthy career in bad jobs he finally decided to become a plumber, a profession that he exercised for one year as an apprentice and seven years alone.

Towards the end of the apprenticeship he took the Cambridge Proficiency in English exam and as he passed with distinction he was immediately offered a job as a teacher at a private language school. He taught English while beginning his solo career as a plumber.

Sacha at the French Kindergarten "Les Alouettes" in Athens, GreeceHe later also repaired industrial band saw machines for his friend John Pangakis for four years. They also played music together. A world class composer and songwriter and the universe's best kept secret talent, John Pangakis and his music were a source of significant motivation, which contributed to him become aware of and develop his own ability. They performed John's songs live, together with Martha Moreleon, an amazing singer, in Athens.

He also collaborated with Dimitris Dalavangas, a composer for the Greek commercial music scene, with whom he wrote and recorded four songs. (Some of them will hopefully be featured on a second demo, in case a record company enjoys the main demo and is interested in listening to more.)

These two collaborations, however, combined with some other events helped him finally discover at the over-ripe age of 27, that he had more musical talent than he'd realized and combined with the fact that construction sites, plumbing and industrial saw repairing were not exactly exhausting the creative, artistic facets of his personality, he decided on a career change to music and promised himself he would never look back. He's working hard at it as you read.

He moved to Kiel, Germany in 2002 to move in with his now ex-girlfriend. Their son, and Sacha's only child is now almost eight years old.

He worked at the local shipyard until he found a better job at a language school where he teaches English and Greek. He also gives guitar lesson, performs live at every opportunity and is currently building a small recording studio with the aim of recording and producing his own material as well as that of others.

He aspires to writing as much good music as possible and bring something truly useful into people's lives.

On June 4th 2005, he participated by chance in a songwriting-singing contest held at "Nachtcafé", a local club in Kiel. Together with the participation of Sabine Kok and Anna-Lena Straube on backing vocals and Tom Keller on Harmonica, he unexpectedly won the "Golden Harp" (a total last minute fluke), by playing his song "The Chan Yan Beat". The video's on the "Picture Gallery" page. (If you think it sounds terrible you're right! You can imagine what the rest were like!)

At a demo hearing in October 2007 he got top reviews from the judge panel (Micky Wolf, Prof. Udo Dahmen, Dirk Darmstädter) for his song "S.T.C.U.M." (for all that's worth)

With more live performances now behind him, his abilities as a songwriter, a guitar player and as a singer are beginning to become more apparent, and the positive audience and press feedback has been accumulating. (see Press page)

For the song collection he is currently concentrating on recording and performing, he has been searching for two female backing vocalists. Being hard to please, he's tried no less than 30(!) candidates in Kiel, Hamburg and Berlin but has yet to find perfection. After the vocal harmonies are there, a groovy bass player and drummer are next on the shopping list.

A five song demo will probably be made to be sold at gigs, and work on a complete CD will begin as soon as the studio is finished.

To quote one of the plumbers he worked for: "Sacha is a boy with a dark past but a bright future."

He just might turn out to be right...

Last updated: October 2010